Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson today welcomed news of the contract signing with the preferred proponent to deliver helicopter retrieval services in the new Northern region.


The Northern region will be run by Westpac Rescue Helicopter. The Westpac Helicopter is already engaged in local aeromedical retrieval and will be tasked to perform patient retrieval from the existing base in Tamworth.


“We are committed to reforming the state’s aeromedical services to benefit local patients and ensure faster response times,” Mr Anderson said.


“Today’s announcement shows we are getting on with the job of delivering a safe and sustainable service for the community, something I have supported for many years.”


The new Helicopter Retrieval Network will be operational in 2017 to allow a smooth transition of services. It is one of the largest tenders of its kind in the world.


Mr Anderson said the new Retrieval Network will also implement a new standardised helicopter, streamlining the aircraft used across the state.


“Tamworth will be home to a new helicopter, the larger Augusta Westland 139.


“The new helicopter is capable of transporting medical retrieval teams, including those for sick babies and children, faster and further than ever before. This means more coverage for the region and capacity to transport a wider range of patients,” Mr Anderson said.


The finalisation of the contract follows an extensive tender process undertaken by the NSW Government as part of its Reform Plan for Aeromedical (Rotary Wing) Retrieval Services in NSW.


The tender recommendations were reviewed and endorsed by a Procurement Governance Committee chaired by Dr Peter Sharley, an independent an intensive care and retrieval specialist from South Australia.


Mr Anderson said he was pleased to see Westpac Resuce, the preferred proponent, successful in its tender bid.


“This operator provides an incredible service to our community and I’m very happy to see this will continue and their capabilities will be enhanced for the benefit of local patients,” Mr Anderson said.


“The reform plan has already delivered 24-7 coverage for our region, which recent reports have demonstrated has been vital in the care and support of patients locally.


“I believe the new Helicopter Retrieval Network will deliver world-class retrieval coverage for our community and better outcomes for patients wherever and whenever they need emergency medical care,” Mr Anderson said.


Health Minister Jillian Skinner said “Our aeromedical helicopters are more than just transportation aircraft – they are mobile emergency departments in the sky, providing high-level, quality care to very sick patients,” Mrs Skinner said.


“This new Helicopter Retrieval Network will deliver a modern, flexible and effective helicopter fleet to deliver the best care for babies, children and adults and it will give more local paramedics and doctors the ability to get to patients faster than ever before.”


Other key highlights of the new Helicopter Retrieval Network include:

  • For the first time in NSW, a team of a doctor and paramedic or doctor and nurse will be on every patient retrieval flight from every base across the Helicopter Retrieval Network;
  • Patients will receive faster emergency care with bases operating 24/7 including Orange, which allows aircraft to respond to emergencies up to 30 minutes faster;
  • The NSW Government has fulfilled its commitment to employ an additional 11.5 FTE retrieval doctors and18 new FTE paramedics to enhance the service;
  • Funding of $151.2 million from the NSW Government for the new Network;
  • The Reform Plan guarantees that the Helicopter Retrieval Network can meet the growing demand for retrieval missions in NSW.


There will be further progress of the reform, including medical crewing, in 2015.


For further information about the Helicopter Retrieval Network, please visit

Contact Our Office

13 Fitzroy St
Tamworth NSW 2340

Postal Address
PO Box 1740
Tamworth NSW 2340

(02) 6766 1422

(02) 6766 6765


The Nationals - For Regional Australia