CME and major miners help RFDS take flight

Emergency response to mine sites in Western Australia will be improved after the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations (RFDS) unveiled the latest addition to its fleet.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) and 22 Western Australian resource and primary industry companies provided critical funding to the RFDS at the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, with more than $5 million raised to purchase the Pilatus PC12 aeromedical aircraft.  

The Australian Government also provided funding for the aircraft to boost the pandemic response capability of the RFDS. 

CME chief executive Paul Everingham said the WA mining and resources sector was delighted to give back to the communities in which it operates. 

“The health, safety and wellbeing of people is always our sector’s number one priority – and that commitment extends to communities right around WA,” Everingham said. 

“CME and those member companies are delighted to be part of the maiden journey of this new plane, which will deliver much-needed and time-critical medical services to regional areas of WA, including mining and resources operations.” 

RFDS Western Operations chief executive officer Rebecca Tomkinson said the new aircraft will help the service stay ‘response ready’ for all Western Australians. 

“As we all continue to prepare for the evolving challenges of COVID-19, having additional capability to meet the increasingly diverse needs in regional Western Australia is of upmost importance,” Tomkinson said. 

“We sincerely thank The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA, and the 22 Western Australian companies including BHP, FMG, Roy Hill and Rio Tinto who generously contributed.”   

The RFDS Pilatus PC12 began its new life with a ‘thank you’ tour of Pilbara mine sites.     

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