Council grant helps AGL Rescue Helicopter Hoist

Cr Jason O'Pray taking a  ride in the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter basket and winch (Image courtesy AGL Action Rescue Helicopter)
Cr Jason O’Pray taking a ride in the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter basket and winch. (Image courtesy AGL Action Rescue Helicopter)

The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter will continue to provide a critical rescue and transport service for residents and visitors after an overhaul of its rescue hoist was made possible by a $15,000 community grant from Sunshine Coast Council.
The Sunshine Coast-based AGL Action Rescue helicopter conducted 361 medical missions in the region last financial year including responding to accidents, inter-hospital transfers and neo-natal transport.
Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said council supports a wide range of community groups and services through its grants and funding programs.
“The AGL Rescue Helicopter is just one example of the incredible community organisations we have on the Coast,” said Cr McKay.
“A lot of people don’t realise this is a not-for-profit community-based organisation that depends on community contributions for a significant portion of their funding.
“Through a number of grants and funding programs, council is able to support a very deserving range of community and sporting groups, artists, individuals and organisations.
“These groups and volunteers play an important role in creating a sustainable Sunshine Coast community.”
Division 8 Councillor Jason O’Pray said the rescue hoist overhaul was essential for the helicopter crew to continue its work on the Sunshine Coast.
“The AGL Rescue Helicopter team performs this lifesaving work at no charge to the people they rescue and transport – it’s a fantastic service we couldn’t do without,” Cr O’Pray said.
“It was really important the helicopter retained its rescue hoist as many patients are inaccessible by road or rescued at sea.”
The grant helped fund the essential maintenance to ensure winch rescues are performed at the highest safety standard.  The overhaul costs more than $32,000 and is conducted approximately every five years on each of the organisation’s three winch-capable helicopters.
Chief Executive Officer David Donaldson said he was thrilled to receive the council’s financial support through its Major Community Grant Scheme.
“It’s great to see our local council helping keep our not-for-profit helicopter rescue service in the air,” said Mr Donaldson.
“The winch allows us to extract patients requiring urgent medical care from locations that cannot be reached by road or foot,” he said.
“We also use it to conduct life-saving rescues.  A lot of our search and rescue tasks are to rescue fisherman whose vessels have sunk at sea.”
Last year alone, the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter conducted more than 40 winch rescues across its 97,000 km square tasking zone.
Visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/grants for up to date information about council’s various grants and partnership funding programs.