The future of the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg based rescue helicopters has landed on firm ground with RACQ committing $1.5 million dollars annually to become the new ‘naming rights’ sponsor of the Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service (SCHRS).
The five-year agreement will be indexed annually and RACQ has already indicated its intention to be a long-term sponsor.
“This agreement brings a new level of stability to our rescue helicopter service and we’re really excited to have RACQ on board,” CEO David Donaldson said.
“We are still finalising a few details but we hope to be able to confirm our new name soon.
“Obviously there are re-branding issues to work through, including repainting our helicopters, but there’s no doubt the blue and yellow which is synonymous with RACQ will feature strongly.”
RACQ Group Chief Executive Officer, Ian Gillespie, said that becoming the naming rights sponsor of SCHRS had been a long-term goal of the motoring club.
“Today’s announcement means RACQ now sponsors all five community rescue helicopter services across Queensland,” Mr Gillespie said.
AGL Energy Limited (AGL) has been the naming rights sponsor of the Service for the past four years and during this time the AGL Action Rescue Helicopters have been involved in more than four thousand vital rescues throughout south-east and central Queensland. AGL has graciously agreed to step aside before the end of its contract date to secure a funding increase for the life-saving service.
“AGL has worked hand-in-hand with RACQ to secure the future of this vital Rescue Service and to help manage its current funding pressures,” explained AGL General Manager Marketing and Retail Sales Mark Brownfield.
“We are very pleased to be continuing our support of the Service as a major sponsor.
“AGL electricity customers will still be able to donate to the Service through their electricity bills and we will also continue to promote donations to our Queensland customer base.”
SCHRS saved its first life back in November 1979, making it the longest running community helicopter provider in the state.
In the 34 years since, it has grown to employ 33 staff and provide round-the-clock emergency medical and rescue helicopter services to more than 1.2 million people across an area that spans more than 100,000km2.
The Service undertakes around 1,100 lifesaving missions annually. Last year 150 of those involved serious motor vehicle crashes, many with multiple patients.
Mr Gillespie said that for RACQ the inclusion of the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg based helicopters meant the iconic motoring body now donated almost $5 million annually to helicopter sponsorships around the State.
“Like RACQ’s roadside assistance, the RACQ-sponsored rescue helicopters work to provide peace of mind 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” he said.
“The work of the rescue helicopters and their dedicated crews can literally mean the difference between life and death – especially for motorists injured in car crashes.
“That’s why we’re involved with the rescue helicopters. It’s also why our members overwhelmingly support that investment of their funds.”