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Rescue chopper’s future still in doubt

Warren HatelyBusselton Dunsborough Times

The WA Government remains tight-lipped about the future of the South West RAC rescue helicopter, which has no guaranteed funding beyond next year.

Critics have lashed Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan for failing to guarantee the vital service, with the minister saying the fiscal disaster left by the previous government was to blame.

This week, Mr Logan declined to make a funding commitment.

“I am very much aware of the importance of the helicopter and the service it provides to the South West community, as is the entire McGowan Labor Government,” he told the Times.

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“The fact remains that the previous Liberal-National government only funded the service until June 2018 — and that is something we have been left to address.

“While the Nationals play cynical politics on this issue, we are working through the Budget process to find the funds to keep the service going.

“We will have further updates in due course.”

Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman said the chopper was a vital service for residents and tourists in the South West.

“Without the rapid response provided by the rescue helicopter, help could be hours away for people in rural areas who are seriously ill or injured,” he said.

Mr Redman called on the WA Government to explain how the service could continue without funding.

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