8 February 2021

Breaking new ground with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (WRHS) recently received a financial boost from Whitehaven Coal at the Maules Creek mine. The donation was part of Whitehaven’s unveiling of a new excavator bucket, designed by CR Mining and manufactured by Jaws Buckets and Attachments.

The five metre high excavator bucket is the first in the world designed specifically to optimise efficiency of Whitehaven’s 800-tonne class excavators and is emblazoned with the logos of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Whitehaven and the manufacturers.

Whitehaven donated $50,000 to the Service as the new equipment was officially commissioned, with CR Mining contributing $10,000 and Jaws a further $3,500.

WRHS Community Liaison Officer Daniel Gillett said the funding made an enormous difference to regional communities that depend on the helicopter service.

“We’ve been able to help countless people across the community and even at Maules Creek, and that’s what it’s all about. Our sponsors make it possible for us to be ready to respond 24/7, and we’re celebrating that today,” Mr Gillett said.

Whitehaven Coal General Manager Community Engagement Andrew Garratt said the Rescue Helicopter provided an absolutely essential service not only for the company, but for the region more broadly.

“We’re thrilled to be able to help keep the Service in the air through our ongoing financial support and it’s great to have a visual reminder on site of the terrific work the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service does for our region,” said Mr Garratt.

The donation to the Service brings Whitehaven’s overall contribution to more than $154,000 for the past year and more than $1,000,000 since the Tamworth base was established in 2000. This includes a significant number of donations from mine workers, which are matched dollar-for-dollar by Whitehaven Coal.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service was established in 1975 and through community support and fundraising it has become a critical service that operates 24-7 from three bases in Belmont, Tamworth and Lismore. Today the Service delivers aeromedical search, rescue and inter-hospital transfers to care for communities from north of the Hawkesbury River, up to the Queensland border. Along the Pilot and Aircrew Officer, every primary response mission leaves with a dedicated NSW Ambulance Paramedic, NSW Health Doctor and depending on the needs of each patient the team may include specialist nursing professionals.

Pictured (L-R): Jorge Moraga, General Manager of Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Mine, Daniel Gillett, Ross Whitaker, Tamara O’Reilly from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, with Whitehaven’s General Manager – Community Engagement Andrew Garratt 

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