Helicopter funding to remain in northern New South Wales
Sydney, 11 July 2018 – Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and Northern Region SLSA Helicopter Rescue Service
Pty Ltd (Northern) and Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Limited (NNSW) today announced they
have resolved Supreme Court proceedings.
The matter involved the distribution of funds after Northern ceased its operations of 35 years in 2017.
The proceedings were lodged in the Supreme Court of New South Wales by NNSW who, on 27th April 2017,
commenced its own independent operations to provide helicopter emergency medical services in the North
Coast, Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands region from a new base at Lismore Airport.
The parties settled the proceedings, with the funds being distributed to NNSW and SLSA to be applied to
support the helicopter rescue service and Surf Life Saving programs in northern New South Wales.
Mr Tozer OAM, Chairman of Northern Region SLSA Helicopter Rescue Service Pty Ltd said, “I am pleased
that the matter was resolved in accordance with Northern’s constitution and contractual obligations as it
has always been the Northern Board’s direction to ensure its staff were re-employed and that all funds
raised and assets acquired were distributed in accordance with Northern’s constitutional requirements.”
Graham Ford AM, President of SLSA, said SLSA was satisfied with the outcome and was pleased that
settlement could be reached through mediation between the parties.
“Surf Life Saving members and hundreds of local volunteers have spent many thousands of hours
supporting the helicopter rescue service in the Northern region during the past three decades – and, this
settlement ensures critical funding will remain in the area to support the helicopter service and Surf Life
Chief Executive Officer of NNSW, Richard Jones OAM, has reiterated today that funds received by NNSW
from this settlement will be applied directly to the North Coast, Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands
operations of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.
“We are satisfied with this outcome and pleased it could be resolved through mediated settlement. Establishing
this new Service at Lismore Airport required us to take out a substantial loan and receipt of funds will allow us to
repay a significant amount of that loan. Funds are being applied for the purpose of helicopter emergency
medical services in the North Coast, Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands region” Jones said.
“The significant costs of developing the base, training staff and commencing flying in the new Agusta Westland
AW139 was an essential commitment we made to this region to provide a world class service” Jones added.
“We are very grateful for the community support we have received over the past 12 months. Since our
commencement of operations on 27th April 2017 we have flown over 500 missions, many of which were lifesaving,
and that’s the thing we are most proud of.” Jones said.
There are 19 Surf Life Saving clubs in the Northern region of NSW, comprised of more than 6,500
Both SLSA and NNSW provide vital services to keep their local community safe in their own ways. Both
organisations are supported by a wide range of community stakeholders including volunteers, sponsors and
SLSA is the largest volunteer movement of its kind in the world, with 168,823 members and 311 affiliated
Surf Life Saving clubs. Surf Life Saving is a unique not-for-profit community cause that exists through
community donations, fundraising, corporate sponsorship and government grants.