27-Jun-2012 Source: Westpac Life Saver Rescue
NSW PremierÂ Barry Oâ€™Farrell and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher recently announced $1.5million in funding for Surf Life Saving NSW to assist the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
â€œThis funding will ensure this vital search and rescue helicopter service continues to provide a 24/7 service in the Greater Sydney Region and a second service on the NSW south coast, operating daytime, year roundâ€ said Mr Oâ€™Farrell.
Police and Emergency Services Minister, Michael Gallacher said the search and rescue service had saved countless lives in almost 40 years of operation.
â€œThis search and rescue service has been integral in major operations in our history including the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Waterfall train disaster and the Thredbo landslide in 1997,â€ said Mr Gallacher.
â€œThe helicopter also played an important role during the floods in Moree, the south coast and Wagga Wagga earlier this year,â€ he said.
The CEO of the Westpac Life Saver, Stephen Leahy, welcomed the funding announcement.
â€œWe are thrilled with todayâ€™s announcement,â€ said Mr Leahy.Â â€œThis allows us to provide dedicated search and rescue helicopters to the communities of the Central Coast, Sydney, right down the Victorian border and beyondâ€
â€œWe continue to work closely with our colleagues at Surf Life Saving NSW, the NSW Police Force, the NSW State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service and Australian Search and Rescue in providing a rapid, responsive rescue service.â€
Just as importantly, we will be working closely with Surf Life Saving NSW to provide regular helicopter patrols along the coastline during the warmer months and this will assist their important work in reducing drownings,â€ said Mr Leahy.
â€œAn exciting part of this announcement means that we can now provide the fast-growing communities of southern NSW with a dedicate search and rescue helicopter year round.â€
â€œWe thank the Premier and the Oâ€™Farrell government for their ongoing assistance.Â This government support will make NSW a safer place,â€ he said.
The announcement was made at the helicopter serviceâ€™s Cape Banks base by Mr Oâ€™Farrell and Mr Gallacher and they were joined by the Minister for Sport and Recreation Graham Annesley, the Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith, the Member for Bega Andrew Constance and the Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Phil Vanny.