Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

None . . Page.. 1345 ..

MR HIRD: My question, sir, is addressed to the Chief Minister - and a wonderful Chief Minister she is, too, not like the last one, who sat on her hands and did nothing. I ask the Chief Minister, representing the Minister for Emergency Services, whether she can tell the Assembly whether there have been any - - -

Mr Berry: Where were you between half past 12 and half past 2? That is what I would like to know.


Ms Follett: What did you have for lunch?

MR HIRD: Listen, Wayne, never mind about that. Do not judge everyone by yourself, Rosie. Have there been any developments on the issue of the rescue helicopter for Canberra and the region? That is very important.

MRS CARNELL: I certainly thank the member for his question, and I note that there has been a good deal of ill-informed speculation on this matter recently. Indeed, last week I heard a Labor member - in fact, I believe it was Mr Whitecross - interviewed on radio suggesting that the Government was about to ditch the commitment to the Canberra-based rescue helicopter and had shown “reluctance to go ahead with the plan”. It was very hard, Mr Whitecross, to bite the tongue at that time, but we did. I am happy to inform the Assembly today that Mr Whitecross could not have been further from the truth. Boy, was it hard not to tell him at the time! I am delighted to inform the Assembly that the Government has reached an agreement with the New South Wales Government on the provision of - - -

Mr De Domenico: With whom?

MRS CARNELL: With the Labor Government in New South Wales, for the provision of an emergency rescue helicopter service for this region. At lunchtime my colleague the Minister for Emergency Services, Gary Humphries, met with the New South Wales Minister for Health and agreed on a position which would see the New South Wales Government transfer its funding component from one of the three Sydney-based helicopters to a service based in Canberra and servicing the ACT and south-east region. They have just made a joint announcement on this in Sydney.

As part of that process, the ACT Government will make a limited annual financial commitment which will not exceed $150,000 - not the million dollars that Mr Connolly was raving on about in the previous Government. The New South Wales and ACT governments will issue a call for expressions of interest this Friday, and potential parties wishing to provide a service have until 20 September to lodge their expressions of interest. After the expressions of interest process is complete, a formal tender process will be undertaken, probably in November, with the service to be operational from early next year. Initially, the service will be based at Canberra Airport. However, future moves to locate the service at another base, such as Woden Valley Hospital, certainly will not be ruled out. This service will provide primary emergency medical support and secondary

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .