Clarence Valley Independent

Premier announces helipad funding in Maclean

Premier Gladys Berejiklian with Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and wife Vicki, surrounded by hospital staff, Maclean Rotary Club members and the Maclean Hospital UHA who welcomed the announcement on Saturday of $400,000 in funding from the NSW government, towards the new helipad at the Maclean Hospital. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Lynne Mowbray |

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian paid a brief visit to Maclean on Saturday afternoon where she announced a contribution of $400,000 in funding from the NSW Government, for the Maclean Hospital helipad upgrading.

The Premier was greeted at the helipad site by members of the Maclean Rotary Club (who raised the funds for the original helipad), Maclean Hospital executive and staff and the Maclean United Hospital Auxiliary (UHA).

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis welcomed the Premier and said that this would not have happened without the estate and legacy of Merv and Yukki Sheehan, which has been gifted towards the new helipad.

“They loved Maclean and their legacy will live forever,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“I’m just thrilled that the state government could match that funding so that we could have a helipad that we really need. We are a hospital that cannot deal with complex matters and so this upgrade is a wonderful thing and it’s a life saver,” he said.

The Premier said that providing people with vital health services is an absolute priority for a government.

“What is the point of being in government if you’re not there to help your community?” Ms Berejiklian said.

“That’s why we are very thrilled to put $400,000 towards a new helipad and an amount similar is being met by the local community. We’re very grateful for that and we’ll get cracking and deliver this as soon as possible.

We’re looking forward to seeing this come into action.

“We’ll make sure that we kick in with whatever is needed for the helipad.

“We estimate our contribution is around $400,000 and if we need to put in a bit more then we will, but that’s the estimate that we’ve been given and I just want to assure everybody that it’s going to happen and we’ll put in what’s needed to make sure it’s up and running,” she said.

President of the Maclean Rotary Club Anne Farrell who has been working tirelessly towards getting the helipad upgraded and operational once again, was unable to attend the announcement, due to being on holiday in Tasmania.

Ms Farrell spoke briefly with The Independent by phone shortly after the announcement was made.

“I’m ecstatic,” Ms Farrell said.

“I just can’t believe it’s happened.

“I’m just so sorry that I couldn’t be there (for the announcement).

“I have to say a huge thank you to Chris Gulaptis and his team for what they’ve done,” she said.

Ms Farrell said that (Maclean Rotary Club vice-president) Ken Ford who was the original builder of the first helipad; has done all the ground work (on the helipad upgrade).

“Kens the mover and shaker because he was the builder behind the last one, so he knew what to do,” she said.

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