About Us

The community’s own Rescue Helicopter

No one has ever paid to be assisted by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. That is because people in our community, along with the NSW Government, through NSW Health and NSW Ambulance, provide the funds to ensure the rescue helicopters are there when, and where, they are needed.

New AW139 fleet

  • Four AW139’s cover 1.5m people throughout Northern New South Wales, from the Hawkesbury to the Queensland border, making it one of the leading aeromedical services in Australia.
  • The Rescue Helicopters operate from three bases at Belmont Airport, Lismore Airport and Tamworth Airport. Deep maintenance, engineering and administration are at Broadmeadow (Newcastle)
  • The AW139’s cost $1000 per hour in fuel, $1000 per hour to run the engine, $1500 for the airframe and for $500 avionics, that’s a total of $4000 per hour.
  • The AW139 helicopters are bigger aircraft capable of flying for longer, faster periods, covering great distances.      

Missions

  • The service is on call 24 hours, seven days a week.
  • Approaching 1,500 missions each year.  

These include:

  • Primary – attend accident site, treat and transfer patients to hospital
  • Secondary – transfer patients between hospitals for specialist treatment
  • Search and rescue – help to locate missing people, rescue and return to safety  

People

  • On board each helicopter is a crew of highly trained and skilled professionals.
  • The crew includes pilots, doctors, paramedics, nurses and rescue crew members depending on the needs of each patient.
  • Crews are supported by the work of engineering teams which include experienced planners and licensed aircraft maintenance engineers. Other important Service people are marketing and administration teams.      

Volunteers

  • There are 37 volunteer Support Groups with more than 1000 members who live in many communities across Northern NSW.
  • They are tireless fundraisers, event organisers and advocates who help spread the message about the important work of the Rescue Helicopter.  

Funding

  • It costs about $40 million a year to keep the helicopters and crews ready to respond when needed.
  • About $12 million of the cost is raised through sponsorships, Volunteer, Support Group activities, events and partnerships with our community.
  • The remainder is funded through contracts with NSW Health and NSW Ambulance.  

How you can get involved

  • Volunteer – help fundraise and organise events
  • Workplace Giving – make a gift through regular payroll deductions
  • Partnerships - many different ways to supportDonations – every dollar donated is tax-deductible
  • Attend events – Cash Housie, Big Bucks Bingo, charity balls, high teas, lunches, bike rides, golf days and more
  • Visit our Op Shops – All of our stores are run by our energetic volunteers who give their tireless support to help keep the shelves full of great bargains
  • Bequests – make an important gift
  • Visit – meet us at the base or online  

Partners

Since 1975 the Rescue Helicopter has enjoyed a successful partnership with Westpac Banking Corporation, now recognised as one of the longest serving corporate partnerships in Australia’s history.  

The organisation works under contract with NSW Department of Health and NSW Ambulance to deliver world-class aeromedical services.  

Other valued partners include community, mining, media, business, transport, sport, farming and agriculture.