Anniversaries of LifeFlight Toowoomba base and the Surat Gas Aero-medical Service
Deputy Chair, the Honourable Jim Elder; Member for Toowoomba North, the Honourable Mr Trevor Watts MP; Member for Condamine, the Honourable Mr Pat Weir MP; Mayor of Toowoomba, Councillor Paul Antonio; CEO of LifeFlight Mr Ash van de Velde OAM; Regional Southwest Patron Mr Clive Berghofer AM; Executive Director, Aeromedical Retrieval & Disaster Management Branch, Queensland Health, Dr Mark Elock PSM; Surat Gas Aero-medical Service Steering Committee Chairman and Communications Sub-Committee Chair, Mr Michael Todd; LifeFlight staff and supporters; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we gather, and pay my respects to Elders, past, present and emerging.
This is my first regional visit to Toowoomba since becoming Governor and I am delighted that it has coincided with the celebration of two important milestones at LifeFlight Australia: ten years of service to the Roma and Toowoomba regions by the Surat Gas Aero-medical Service, provided by LifeFlight, and 15 years of LifeFlight’s service out of Toowoomba.
The Toowoomba base commenced part-time operations in 2006 and moved to 24/7 capability in 2010, and the impact that this service has had on the district has been literally life-changing.
In the last financial year alone, the Surat Gas Aero-medical Service helicopter crew performed 68 missions, and Toowoomba base was responsible for 698 missions - more than any other base.
As you may know, the work of LifeFlight is very close to my heart. I have the honour of being LifeFlight Australia’s inaugural Patron; it was actually the very first Patronage acceptance of my governorship.
When I made that announcement at the LifeFlight Brisbane base last November I remarked that it was a deeply personal honour.
And it remains personal to me.
Because the work that is done here is very personal to everybody whose life is touched by it.
And, if you will indulge me to briefly continue on a personal note, I would like to acknowledge a particularly special person in the room here this morning, who is about to embark on her well-deserved retirement after a remarkable career of dedicated and compassionate service. Nursing Director of Retrieval Services, Ms Leanne Smith, congratulations, and thank you for your service. I wish you all the very best and hope you and your husband thoroughly enjoy travelling around this great country of ours in your caravan!
I’m sure, Leanne, you have many personal stories of both tragedy and triumph from your 13 years with Retrieval Services Queensland. Medicine. As would so many of you in this room – Because behind every LifeFlight mission is a story.
The stories of people who were supported through the worst day of their life.
The stories of those who were rescued when they had given up hope.
The stories of families whose loved ones are still with them, because of the work of LifeFlight.
And, of course, the stories of the pilots, the doctors, the nurses, the engineers, the trainers, the support staff - ALL of the wonderful staff who are at the heart of LifeFlight, and who every day carry out the purpose of LifeFlight: to save lives and support Queenslanders during their time of need. I am very much looking forward to touring the base shortly and getting to hear some of those stories firsthand.
The work that is done here and throughout Queensland to ensure that every Queenslander has access to aeromedical support of the highest possible calibre makes me extremely proud, as Governor and Patron.
Congratulations on your anniversaries, and I wish you all the very best for the many years ahead. You have made Queensland proud.