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Monday, 17 August 2009
Page: 8076

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (6:49 PM) —I rise today to express my very deep concern about the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian Labor governments and their recently exposed plans to give aeromedical contracts to private operators instead of the iconic Royal Flying Doctor Service. Already the RFDS has lost contracts to provide aeromedical evacuation services in Victoria and out of Rockhampton in central Queensland. This economic rationalism has gone much too far. The loss of patient retrieval contracts will have a significant impact on the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s ability to fund its other vital and invaluable services.

Just 11 months ago, I stood in this same place to congratulate the RFDS on its 80th birthday. I talked of the vital services it provides to the people of Maranoa and to many parts of rural and remote Australia—towns in my electorate such as Birdsville, Bedourie, Windorah and Jundah. I talked about how the people of the outback rely on the RFDS and how much they truly appreciate the care the RFDS provides them through many and varied services such as the remote clinics, child health programs and mental health support services. So for the state Labor governments to threaten the viability of these important services provided to the outback of my electorate greatly disappoints me.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service, founded by Reverend John Flynn 81 years ago, is iconic in rural, remote and many parts of outback Australia. It provides a great mantle of safety for the people wherever they live across the outback and they deserve all the support they can get from all levels of government across Australia. (Time expired)