CALL FOR HELIPAD REOPENING

27 February 2024

CALL FOR HELIPAD REOPENING

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell was joined today in Portland by former Premier, the
Hon Dr Denis Napthine AO to launch a petition to reopen Portland Helipad.

Ms Britnell advised that Ambulance Victoria helicopters ceased landing at Portland hospital helipad
from December 2022 and instead are now landing either at the Portland airport, some 14 kilometres
from the hospital, or on the oval at Hanlon Park, well over a kilometre from the hospital. “We all
know that when an Ambulance Victoria helicopter is involved, the stakes are high. Travel times can
impact on outcomes, and people can and will die from delays” Ms Britnell stated.

Ms Britnell who has been pursuing answers as to why the Helipad has been closed for over 12
months was initially advised in June 2023 by then Minister for Ambulance Services, Gabrielle
Williams, that “ an audit of the Portland District Health helipad in late 2022 found improvements
were required to ensure compliance with current Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations.”

Ms Britnell states however, after consulting the Chief Executive Officer of CASA, she was informed by
CASA “there were no changes to regulations that required the closure of the helipad at Portland
Hospital” and quote “the decision to suspend operations was unrelated to any changes in CASA
regulations”.

“I am told by Portland District Health Board Chair Peter Matthews, that the hospital does not have the
resources to staff the traffic management associated with landing a helicopter, so this is another issue
the Victorian Government must address. It is disappointing that the future of this life saving service is
not being adequately resourced by this Government” said Ms Britnell.

Dr Napthine who as Premier turned the first sod on the Helipads construction in 2014 said “This is a
project I championed with the Portland community for many years to ensure the Portland
community could have access to this life saving service and receive the best care possible in the
quickest time period.”

“It’s heartbreaking to see how quickly the Victorian Labor Government have let this service fall by
the wayside. This shows a real disrespect for rural lives and the Portland community” said Dr
Napthine.

Ms Britnell and Dr Napthine are, via this petition, calling on the Victorian State Government to
undertake the necessary steps to ensure the immediate reopening of the Portland Helipad and are
asking Portland and district to get behind the petition and behind the reopening of the lifesaving
Portland helipad.

Roma Britnell MP
Member for South West Coast
Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight
Shadow Minister for Child Protection
Shadow Minister for Boating and Fishing

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