The state government kicked off its regional cabinet meetings in Bunbury on Monday morning with the news that the RAC South West emergency rescue helicopter will be funded into the future.
Premier Mark McGowan joined Emergency Services minister Fran Logan and Bunbury MLA Don Punch at Bunbury Regional Airport to commit to forward funding the life-saving service.
Mr McGowan said his government would guarantee funding to ensure the service continued into the long-term future.
“People in the South West can be guaranteed the coverage this helicopter provides when emergencies happen,” he said.
“We have allocated over $27 million to this commitment to provide peace of mind to those in the South West.
“The emergency helicopter crew are highly trained and this funding will ensure their positions will continue into the long-term future.”
Read more: The heroes behind the RAC rescue helicopter
Emergency Services minister Fran Logan said under the previous Liberal-National government, the South West helicopter was only partly funded until June 2018.
"It was clear to me when I visited the RAC South West Emergency Rescue Helicopter base in Bunbury recently that this service needed secure funding,” he said.
"As Emergency Services minister, I was shocked that the previous Liberal National government chose not to provide funding certainty for this important service.
"We have been working through the budgetary processes line by line to fix the mess left behind by the previous government so we could provide that much-needed certainty.
"For the Liberals and National to try to claim this vital service was being scrapped with absolutely no evidence was highly irresponsible.”
First flying on February 1, 2016, the Bunbury-based RAC helicopter helps the Perth-based RAC helicopter to cover 95 per cent of WA’s population.
Since it began operations, the Bunbury helicopter has transported more than 283 patients.
Bunbury MLA Don Punch said he was pleased the Premier and the minister had moved swiftly to secure funding for the service after he raised the community’s concerns with them.
"The South West emergency rescue helicopter is a priority for my community and this funding will allow it to continue to provide its outstanding service to the South West,” he said.