Up to 150 jobs will be created, with more than 110 of them going to locals, when construction of a new aeromedical base begins at Bundaberg Airport in coming weeks.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service and LifeFlight are building the joint, purpose-built base and patient transfer facility, continuing both organisations' long history of commitment to improving health outcomes for the Wide Bay community and beyond.
Hutchinson Builders has been awarded the construction contract, following a rigorous tender process.
Hutchinson Builders Team Leader Sean Lees said the company was keen to be involved in such a significant project for Bundaberg after successfully completing the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre in Toowoomba.
“RFDS and LifeFlight are two very easy organisations to get behind,” he said.
“We have had a long-established relationship with LifeFlight and we're really excited about extending that relationship to RFDS.
“We are in absolute awe of what both organisations do and can’t wait to contribute in a small way to their respective operations.”
In addition to the jobs the construction phase of the project will create, materials will also be sourced locally, including over 3,200 tonnes of concrete, 60 tonnes of reinforcement and 130 tonnes of structural steel.
“This is a project for Bundaberg, the Wide Bay, Fraser Coast, North and South Burnett communities,” said LifeFlight Board Chairman Hon. Rob Borbidge AO.
“We're proud that not only will the completed base benefit locals, but the creation of the project itself, will generate jobs and bring money into those communities.”
Aeromedical base replaces shared hangar
Located at the newly-developed Aviation and Aerospace Precinct at Bundaberg Airport, the new facility will be built jointly used by RFDS and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue, replacing the current shared hangar.
Designed and built specifically to meet the needs of the aeromedical services, the base will improve health and safety standards, medical equipment storage, aircraft maintenance and upgrade amenities for both patients and staff.
“We are excited to work with Hutchinson Builders and draw on their expertise in aeromedical base construction. It means we can begin the build phase of the project with complete confidence,” RFDS (Queensland Section) CEO Meredith Staib said.
“Their commitment to using local contractors throughout the project will have a positive impact for the Bundaberg region.
“This will further strengthen the Flying Doctor and LifeFlight’s commitment to serve the people of Bundaberg and the greater Wide Bay and Fraser Coast regions.”
The RFDS and LifeFlight have committed funds to this project and secured funding of three million dollars from the Australian Government, through the Building Better Regions Fund.
While this important infrastructure project has received generous support from the Australian Government and through a 25 year long-term leasehold from Bundaberg Regional Council, the two charities are required to contribute the remaining 50% of the total project costs.
The new base will cost RFDS and LifeFlight $1.5 million each and they are looking to the local community to help offset the amount.
The RFDS and LifeFlight are asking for support to contribute to the cost of the development.
“We have been much impressed with the local interest in the project, and we are looking forward to showcasing the strength of our team in delivering an important building to the area,” said Mr Lees.
The current target is for construction to begin by early August, starting with heavy plant movements removing surplus materials and importing road base, to ensure the development has a solid foundation.
Most of the structure is expected to start springing up by early September, with a completion date expected in February 2020.
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