Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter – Northern Helicopters


As reported last year, the delivery of aeromedical services in the Northern Rivers Region was to be assumed by a new operator commencing April 2017. Since the contract award was announced we have been working with the new service provider to ensure that when the new contract was activated in April 2017 the new broader service would be there to answer the first mission call, and continue the proud tradition we have built since 1982. Our service has now ceased providing aeromedical services with the majority of staff transferred to the new operator and assets sold, including both helicopters and the old base at Lismore.


As in previous years all funds raised by the service were first applied to the operation of the service. Due to the new service provider commencing operations we did not run a Christmas appeal but rather used the opportunity to advise our loyal donors of the upcoming change.

Fundraising was therefore down on previous years although the op shops and bequests remained strong contributors to income, enabling expenses of the service to be met. The operation of the 7 op shops located throughout our flight path area has been assumed by the new operator. We are proud of the 480 volunteers that are part of our history and story and take this opportunity to thank them for their marvellous support over many years.


As noted above, operations ceased in April 2017. Due to the skills of our engineering team we were able to maintain operations through a period of heavy maintenance resulting from both aircraft being near the end of cycle. It is a credit to the team of Heath McDonald, Craig Hamilton, Greg Pratt and Pat Wright that this level of expertise was held in our organisation.

Air Operations conducted 320 aeromedical/ SAR missions through the year, and as the pointy end of the service, the skills in completing these missions safely for the benefit of patients in their most vulnerable situation is testimony to our Service mission.

It is a credit to all staff that against the backdrop of ceasing operations and a new provider commencing they remained focused on the primary community goal for the organisation; to continue to provide the high level of service to the community that made our organisation the most trusted charity in the region.


Following the new service provider commencing operations, the base at Lismore and both helicopters were sold to ensure the balance sheet is liquid to allow for agility in the deregistration of the company. Prior to year end the company moved towards distributing the funds in accordance with its constitution so that it could voluntarily deregister the company as soon as possible. Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Limited (Northern NSW), the new service provider, commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales seeking declarations that all the monies held by the company are subject to a trust and that it be appointed as trustee of those trust funds.

Northern NSW has sought orders that the company not be allowed to distribute the funds in accordance with its constitution, until the proceedings have been determined.

The company has provided an undertaking that only validly incurred debts and liabilities and expenses incurred in the course of business will be met, and that it will otherwise not distribute funds.

The primary impact of this to date is that SLSA had communicated with Surf Life Saving Clubs in the flight area that it was proposing a substantial distribution to those clubs as per the constitution.

Until the outcome of the Supreme Court matter is determined, the company is not able to complete any distribution in accordance with its constitution including any distribution to SLSA, and by extension any intended distribution by SLSA to clubs has also been impacted.


Northern Region SLSA Helicopter Rescue Service Pty Ltd is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, drawing on substantial business experience across various industries. The skill of the Board is best demonstrated by the capacity to effectively transition the company from aeromedical services in April 2017.

The Board of Northern Region SLSA Helicopter Rescue Service Pty Ltd met through the year ended 30 June 2017 on 10 occasions, including Special General Meetings and at the Annual General Meeting

Warren Tozer OAM23Chairman10/10
Paul Muldoon145/10
Kevin Gosling159/10
John Griffin86/10
Peter George AM38/8
Geoff King59/10
Peter Fahey510/10
Kris Beavis – General Manager (ex officio)8Company Secretary 10/10


Number of available helicopters 21.2*2
Primary Response - Number of missions201223149
Primary Response - Number of hours flown242301167
Secondary Response - Number of missions186183164
Secondary Response - Number of hours flown313301270
Search and rescue - Number of missions16167
Search and rescue - Number of hours flown312518
Training - Number of missions 14411069
Training - Number of hours flown 16613471
Other - Number of missions 627746
Other - Number of hours flown 353635
Total - Number of missions flown 609609435
Total - Number of hours flown 787796561

*During 2015/16, we had one or the other aircraft offline for scheduled heavy maintenance for a collective period of more than 9 months

** 10 months operation only, with the last mission being conducted on 25 April 2017

Kris Beavis
General Manager – Northern Service

SLSA Operations – Westpac Helicopter Northern Region