COMMUNITIES in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula will receive improved emergency helicopter services after the Queensland Government committed funding to 30 June 2016.
Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said the extension of the agreement with Australian Helicopters Pty Ltd would ensure the residents of Far North Queensland communities would continue to benefit from this vital service.
"For residents of these communities, the emergency helicopter service can literally be the difference between life and death," Mr Dempsey said.
"The continued funding of the helicopter service is part of our promise to revitalise frontline emergency services, something that stalled under the previous Labor Government.
"This air base does an outstanding job servicing its community and this contract extension will allow them to continue well into the future.
"Not only will they continue to service their community, they will use more advanced equipment that has been installed by Australian Helicopters, at no cost to the government.
"The helicopter will be fitted with night vision compatible cockpit lighting systems, extending its capability and bringing it into line with other emergency helicopters across Queensland.
"The funding commitment is part of our strong plan for a brighter future for these remote communities."
There is one emergency helicopter operating in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula based on Horn Island, with a committed and dedicated team of pilots, air crewmen, engineers and support management.
Managing Director of Australian Helicopters John Boag said the extension of the contract recognised the confidence placed in the company's ability to deliver emergency helicopter support services.
"Australian Helicopters has successfully delivered a reliable emergency service in the area for many years and we are extremely pleased to be able to continue our work there," Mr Boag said.
"We look forward to continuing our locally based support for the community of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsular in conjunction with emergency services."