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Perrottet intervention in Ambulance cash grab

Flood victims devastated by torrents of water in NSW’s Central West were billed up to $6,668 per helicopter rescue— until the state government intervened.

Flood victims have been slapped with “outrageous” bills for helicopter rescues in the state’s Central West — prompting an urgent intervention from Deputy Premier Paul Toole.

Mr. Toole said he was made aware of reports that victims in flood-ravaged Eugowra had been billed for helicopter rescues by NSW Ambulance.

According to the NSW Ambulance website, victims would have been slugged with a $407 helicopter call-out fee and an additional $3.67 for every km with a maximum charge of $6,668.

“It has been brought to my attention that some members of our Central West communities, including Eugowra, have been billed for rescues undertaken during the recent floods,” Mr. Toole said.

“While this NSW Ambulance process is an automated one, I have discussed this with NSW Health and changes will be made to the billing system to ensure these circumstances do not happen again.”Mr. Toole said all the invoices will be waived.

“The NSW Nationals and Liberals in Government have a proven track record of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our regional communities in times of need – and that isn’t about to change. No one will be left to pick up the tab for their rescue,” he said.“NSW Ambulance will be writing to affected residents advising them their invoices will be waived.”

Federal Calare MP Andrew Gee was the first to raise concerns about the invoices.

“Confirmed reports today that NSW Ambulance has been sending residents in Eugowra bills for helicopter rescues. This is simply outrageous,” he said on social media.

“Instead of concentrating on recovery, residents now have to face another layer of stress and anxiety in dealing with bills that should never, ever have been issued
.The close-knit community of Eugowra had been devastated when heavy rainfall forced the Wyangala Dam to spill — releasing more than 230,000 megalitres of water into the already flooding Lachlan River.

People were forced to climb onto their roofs and cling to power poles and street signs as they waited to be rescued by helicopters.

Nearby Forbes was also inundated with floods — the worst the town had seen in 70 years.

NSW Ambulance apologized for the additional stress caused.

“Our thoughts remain with the residents of the Central West after last month’s floods and we

apologize for the additional distress caused by the issuing of these invoices,” they said in a statement.“In recognition of the devastation people have experienced due to the floods, all invoices have

been waived.”



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