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retrieval capacity for an area 70 times the size of the ACT. In our region some 700,000 people and over one million tourists will now be brought within an hour's flying time of the principal hospital of our region, Woden Valley. Those people have always had to rely on aeromedical support which was at least 90 minutes away.
Today's decision will enable potential tenderers to evaluate an offer by businessman Dick Smith, who has offered to donate a helicopter valued at $1.8m for either use or trade-in on a more appropriate helicopter. It is quite fair to say that Dick Smith's generous offer gave a big boost to this concept, which otherwise would have been a whole lot more difficult to fulfil. Today's decision also means an injection of about $1.1m a year from the New South Wales Government into the funding of a regional service - a contribution that will make the continued viability of this service well into the future much more certain. The Government is conscious of a 16-month trial offer from the NRMA CareFlight group which, it was claimed, would be at no cost to government. Some brief evaluation of this offer revealed that there were significant costs in infrastructure and paramedical support from both the ACT and New South Wales governments which would need to be met despite there being no requirement for an ongoing recurrent contribution.
The expressions of interest being called on Friday will seek expressions from organisations interested in providing the aircraft and aircrew side of the operation. The ACT and New South Wales ambulance services will be responsible for the provision of mission-based clinical support. The successful tenderer will have access to a vast ground swell of community support for this project. The level of community support this concept has generated has been quite overwhelming, and Mr Humphries has received many calls from regional businesses interested in sponsoring the service.
The announcement today by Dr Refshauge and Mr Humphries was made in Sydney, as I said, a short time ago, following a long series of meetings between officials of the ACT Emergency Services Bureau and the New South Wales Health Administration Corporation. The New South Wales Government has decided to implement the recommendations of the Reid Harris and Associates review into aeromedical services, which recommended that the three Sydney services be reduced to two and that a service be established in south-east New South Wales - - -
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I think we have given Mrs Carnell a fair go. Perhaps she might like to table it. If you have a little look at the standing orders, Mrs Carnell, you will probably find that it is more appropriate for a ministerial statement - - -
MR SPEAKER: I think standing order 118 is the standing order that you are referring to. It certainly concerns the subject matter of the question, but I ask you to wind up if you could, Chief Minister.
MRS CARNELL: The Reid Harris and Associates review suggested that the current three services that are based in Sydney be reduced to two and that one be based in Canberra. This recommendation essentially means that the ACT and New South Wales recognise that there is a priority in health care. This is one of a series of cross-border initiatives that this Government will be pursuing.