The State Government has “gone too far” by “ripping the guts out of regional funding”, according to South West MLC Colin Holt.
The comments come at a time when the future of the Bunbury-based RAC Rescue helicopter has been called into doubt because of a lack a funding commitment from the State Government beyond June 2018.
As a result, Mr Holt has began a petition “Save our rescue chopper” and has been overwhelmed by the response.
The helicopter has been based in Bunbury since February 2016 and has completed more than 400 missions with 65 per cent of the incidents in relation to car crashes.
Since Friday October 20, the RAC Rescue chopper has been called to three incidents in the South West alone. Mr Holt said the community was justifiably outraged that the Perth helicopter rescue service has been fully funded while the Bunbury service had not.
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam has also raised concerns about the future of the South West rescue chopper and said it should be the government’s number one priority to save lives.
“This service provides vital search and rescue and critical care medical services. It is more that transport, it is effectively an air ambulance, providing critical care ambulance,” she said.
Ms Mettam said the statement made by the emergency services minister Francis Logan to 6PR radio station were extraordinary.
“The Opposition Members in the South West have an odd habit of trying to turn their funding shortfalls into this Government’s fault; the reality is the operation of the SW emergency helicopter was only funded until next year by the previous government,” he said.
“It spent millions building a state of the art facility but bizarrely only funded the actual helicopter until next year; the Perth based helicopter is properly funded out of consolidated revenue.
“Colin Holt should stop scare mongering and convince his Liberal colleagues to support the McGowan Government’s efforts to restore the books they so badly blew.”
A spokesperson for minister Logan said he could not comment further on the issue because the matter was before cabinet.
You can sign the petition at nationalswa.com/rescue_chopper_petition