30 August 2023
Portland District Health Helipad
Roma Britnell MP, Member for South-West Coast, has criticised the Andrews Labor Government and Minister for Ambulance Services for their closure of the helipad at Portland District Health (PDH).
Ms Britnell requested information from the Minister and the Australian Government’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regarding the current closure of the helipad, utilised by Ambulance Victoria’s Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).
CASA’s Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety, Ms Pip Spence PSM, clearly stated to Ms Britnell that “there were no changes to regulations that required the closure of the helipad at Portland Hospital” and “the decision to suspend operations was unrelated to any changes in CASA regulations”. Ms Britnell states “the response from CASA indicates they have made no changes which would cause the PDH helipad to be non-compliant with regulations”.
However, the Minister in their response to Ms Britnell, stated that “improvements were required to ensure compliance with current Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations”, a clear contradiction from the Minister to the information provided by the CASA CEO and Director of Aviation Safety.
Ms Britnell explained “The Minister is seeking to put the blame on CASA’s regulations for closing the PDH helipad in December 2022, yet CASA have been clear that no such change to regulations has occurred”.
“I am furious for the Portland community, who have gone more than half a year without this vital health service whilst the Minister tries to find someone to blame” Ms Britnell said.
Additionally, a risk assessment outlining the reasons for the PDH helipad’s closure requested by Ms Britnell has not been provided by the Minister. “Lives could be lost as a result of the additional travel time required when not using the PDH helipad and this is unacceptable” Ms Britnell said.
“The Portland community campaigned long and hard for the helipad at PDH. They deserve better from the Minister than an excuse which doesn’t stack up or have a potential solution for this critical service” Ms Britnell continued.
“Portland want their hospital’s helipad reinstated and I will fight with them to get the service back” Ms Britnell said.
Roma Britnell MP
Member for South West Coast
Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight
Shadow Minister for Boating and Fishing