Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson today announced that winching will be reinstated to the New England North West Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service based at Tamworth.


Mr Anderson said following a recent review conducted into current helicopter missions in the region it became clear that there was a very strong case to reinstate winching in the New England North West due to changing circumstances within wider and regional communities.


“That change included a new bigger and better helicopter fleet that will be standard across the three networks including Tamworth, Newcastle and Lismore. This has provided the catalyst for winching to be reinstated in Tamworth,” Mr Anderson said.


NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said the new AW139 helicopters and the new Bankstown training centre of excellence provide significant safety improvements that were required, allowing for the safe return of winching to Tamworth.


“All helicopter paramedics will be taught aeromedical and clinical skills at the new training centre, receiving continuous training throughout the year,” Minister Skinner said.


Mr Anderson said “Training for pilots and engineers commenced on the new AW139 helicopters last year with other operational and medical staff due to commence their aircraft training early next year. It’s expected Tamworth will see the new aircraft operating in the region late 2017.


“This is great news for our region, we have a highly professional and dedicated aeromedical retrieval service based in Tamworth and they should be provided the opportunity to use every rescue retrieval option available to them. Our communities depend on it.


“This has been an issue that has galvanised the community and I thank them for their continued support in looking for a solution to having rescue winching reinstated in our region. I commend them for their commitment to the safety of our community,” Mr Anderson concluded.

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