Hon Reece Whitby MLA

Hon Reece Whitby MLA

Minister for Environment; Climate Action

    Next generation rescue helicopters to take to the skies

    15/12/2021 2:15 PM
    • McGowan Government investing more than $50 million for three new rescue helicopters
    • Mid-year Review investment secures future of life-saving helicopter service
    • New aircraft to support the Department of Fire and Emergency Services' rescues and patient transfers
    • Helicopters will be next-generation with an increased range

    The McGowan Government is investing more than $50 million to deliver three next-generation emergency rescue helicopters for Western Australia.


    The investment will secure the future of WA's Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service (ERHS), which has provided life-saving assistance to communities across the State since 2003.


    The three replacement aircraft are being delivered as part of the 2021-22 Mid-year Review to provide a newer, much-improved rescue service for the State.


    The new helicopters will provide assistance to WA communities from mid-2023. They will have an increased range and will be able to operate within a 350 kilometre radius of their bases at Bunbury and Jandakot airports without refuelling.


    A third aircraft will provide back-up for the two primary rescue helicopters to ensure two helicopters are always available to fly.


    The third aircraft will also be able to be mobilised to support other emergency services incidents - as recently demonstrated during the Carnarvon floods and Cyclone Seroja.


    The existing fleet can get airborne in less than 15 minutes and fly an average of more than 700 missions each year. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services operates the rescue service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


    The ERHS saves lives and supports emergency operations by rapidly deploying the rescue aircraft and personnel directly to an incident and if required, transports patients to the appropriate medical facility.


    Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby:


    "The Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service has been providing vital life-saving assistance for nearly 20 years, but the time has come for a major investment to modernise and enhance its capabilities.


    "That's why the McGowan Government is investing more than $50 million for three next-generation aircraft to bolster this important service.


    "Our helicopters regularly access difficult terrain, are fitted with rescue winches and operate with night vision imaging systems, which means they can respond to incidents any time of the day or night and in very remote or inaccessible parts of the State.


    "New replacement aircraft for the next phase of this service will ensure the State can provide life-saving, emergency rescue assistance well into the future."


    Minister's office - 6552 6300