The Queensland coal seam gas (CSG) industry has agreed to a five-year funding extension for an aeromedical rescue service that has protected southern Queensland since 2011.
CSG proponents Santos, Shell’s QGC business, Origin and Arrow Energy has committed to keeping the Surat gas (SGAS) aero-medical service airborne until at least 2025.
Integrated gas executive general manager at Origin, Mark Schubert, said the company was committed to sharing the benefit of its activities in communities it operated in.
“This is a strong example of how our industry supports a vital medical service for everyone across the region,” Schubert said.
Santos managing director and chief executive officer Kevin Gallagher added that the investment was vital for regional medical services which would save and protect lives.
LifeFlights holds the SGAS contract, and through it, stations medically-configured AgustaWestland 139 helicopters at Roma and Toowoomba.
“The four SGAS-funding companies are proud of the lives it has saved amongst farming families, rural communities, travellers and tourists, and our own workers. We are delighted to be able to continue funding this service for the next five years, for everyone’s benefit,” SGAS steering committee interim chair Michael Todd explained.
The updated agreement will see two state-of-the-art AugustaWestland AW139 choppers remains at LifeFlight’s Toowoomba and Roma bases.
LifeFlight chairman Bob Borbridge said the need for immediate emergency response was imperative in remote areas both to the industry and to the broader south-western Queensland community.
In 2019, the LifeFlight SGAS aero-medical service came to the aid of 76 people in Queensland’s southwest, including patients of retrieval services Queensland and the gas company workers.
Queensland Mines Minster Anthony Lynham said the CSG and liquified natural gas (LNG) industry continued to deliver thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in businesses in the state.
“As a trauma surgeon, I know how much difference a rapid response service makes in emergency situations in remote areas,” Lynham said.
“The SGAS aero-medical service is one of the most visible ways the CSG industry puts back into the regional Queensland communities that support it.”