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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 May 1995) . . Page.. 391 ..


That ranges from very large organisations in the ACT - multimillion dollar companies - to individuals and small outfits offering to provide some services in kind to make it happen. I believe that people are starting to see that this does create the potential for us to enormously lift the quality of service we offer to certain individuals in need of particular help and that it can be done without the ACT Government contributing a very large sum of money. That is the key to the matter.

I repeat: The ACT Government is not in the business of funding a helicopter rescue service by itself. We see the ACT Government's contribution as being a very small proportion - if we could organise it, nothing at all - of the total cost of running this service, because it must be a community service, a service powered by or driven by a desire to serve the needs of the ACT community and the community of surrounding south-eastern New South Wales.

Mr Berry: It is a different story now.

MR HUMPHRIES: No; that has always been what I have said. I have always said that; and I challenge those opposite who think that that is not the case to indicate where I have said otherwise.

I cannot indicate exactly how much each individual has offered, because that is a matter that we have said to those individuals we will have to negotiate. In many cases they have not specified a dollar amount but have said, “We would like to talk to you about what we can offer”. We have come back and said that we need to get the mechanisms in place to know what kind of service we are going to run before we know how much we will need and, therefore, how much we would be seeking from individuals or companies willing to make that offer. But that work will be done comprehensively and thoroughly before we commit the ACT to that process. That is my assurance to members opposite and to the broad community.

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, could I ask by way of supplementary question: Mr Humphries, you did not mention New South Wales local government councils in your answer. I was wondering whether you would do so. Could you also advise the house what you see as the bottom line for the ACT? When you say that you are not going to fund it unless you get enough support to keep it in the air, how much is the ACT Government willing to contribute towards the running costs of the helicopter?

MR HUMPHRIES: I will take that second part first. It is a little hard to answer that question when we do not know exactly what kind of service we should offer or could offer for the ACT. We have been offered a very good quality helicopter - a Sikorsky 76A, I think it is called - a helicopter of enormous capacity which, as I indicated the other day, was previously owned by the King of Jordan. I am not sure that we actually need a helicopter at that level of service in the ACT. Members will have seen reports in the media that we are considering, if it is appropriate, accepting the gift and then selling the helicopter in order to buy one that is more sustainable by the ACT and the community. If that is the case, then we are obviously looking at a lower level of contribution by all concerned; and the ACT's bottom line, therefore, is lower as well.


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