YESTERDAY’S opening of the new patient transfer facility at Warracknabeal Airport will improve emergency health services in the town and surrounding area.

It comes after more than three years of hard work from community groups who banded together to raise money for the vital and much needed facility.

Building commenced in January this year with local fi rm, Preston Building, the successful tender.

Watsup committee chair, Mandy Bryce, said she was incredibly proud of what the community had achieved.

“We knew there needed to be a facility here because people would just wait in the cold, in their cars for the air ambulance to arrive.”

“We started fundraising holding events and raffles, but soon the process of planning, funding and building became bigger than our small group, so the council took over the project.”

“The creation of this facility shows what small communities are capable of when they band together,” she said.

Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, who attended the event, said the new patient facility will transfer people safely and comfortably to an air ambulance.

“I’m proud of the Coalition Government’s investment in Yarriambiack and Warracknabeal in particular.”

“This new patient facility is suitable for all weather conditions and will off er the level of comfort that both patients and staff deserve,”

Mr Broad said. “This new patient facility is suitable for all weather conditions and will offer the level of comfort that both patients and staff deserve,” he said.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh who joined Mr Broad for the official opening said the new facility will provide much better facilities for Ambulance Victoria staff who are onthe frontline of medical care.

“In addition to hygienic restrooms with disability amenities, the facility has been designed to provide easy access for vehicles, stretchers and wheelchairs,” Dr McVeigh said.

Mayor of Yarriambiack Shire Graeme Massey said the new facility will also accommodate emergency helicopter transport, which means helicopters will no longer need to land on the local sports oval in Warracknabeal.

“With comfortable and private waiting and meeting rooms, we are confident transfers will now be a much more pleasant experience,” Cr Massey said.

Ambulance Victoria Grampians regional director Chris James said the new station would help regional residents receive the care they deserved.

“Everyday I see the strength and resilience of the local communities as we face significant challenges in this region.”

“Every patient deserves to be treated with the best possible care no matter their postcode,” he said.

The Coalition Government has invested $1.5 million in 17 projects across Yarriambiack Shire to date through the Drought Communities Programme. 10 of these projects are now
complete including the Hopetoun Memorial Hall Restoration, the installation of solar panels at the Brim Sports and Social Club and the Minyip Township Facilities upgrade
where the tennis courts and a multi-purpose shed received a facelift.

“These projects supported more than 70 jobs which means people are spending more and driving jobs within their local community, which is an important part of what our grants aim to achieve,” Dr McVeigh said.

The Warracknabeal Aerodrome Transfer Station Upgrade Project was jointly funded by:
• Federal Government investing $100,000 through their Drought Communities Programme
• Victorian Government $26,000
• Yarriambiack Shire $38,236
• Community donations $14,655.
See Friday’s edition of the Herald for the full story and feature.