Geoff Helisma |
In an effort to raise public awareness of its existence, the Iluka Ambulance Action Group (IAAG) now has a logo.
Ann and John McLean, who are the driving force behind lobbying the NSW Government to build an ambulance station in Iluka, are chuffed that Iluka Public School students have continued with their support of the concept.
“The fact the children got involved was absolutely amazing,” Ann said.
Following a conversation between John and a teacher at the school, a completion was held among the students; Millie Speirs was announced as the overall winner on Friday June 15.
“The logo gets our face out there so people realise we are serious; some of the children have written letters to [Clarence MP] Chris Gulaptis,” Ann said.“Millie was presented with a tee shirt printed with the logo that she created.
“All entries [and some photos] are displayed in the window of the shop next to the vet surgery in Charles Street.”
Other winners were Kobe Spears (year 3), Eli Peene (year 2) and Alby Kennedy (K1).
Bundjalung Surf Screen Prints selected the winners and printed the shirt.
The McLeans, with help from supporters, gave an 11,500-signature petition to Mr Gulaptis in July 2017; it was subsequently tabled in the NSW parliament in August.
Mr Gulaptis made a private members statement in parliament on February 8, during which he said “[Iluka] deserves to have an ambulance station”, however, he also referred to Health Minister Brad Hazzard’s unsupportive response to the petition in September 2017, “because the Maclean ambulance station [30 minutes away] … has been upgraded to include seven additional paramedics and now operates 24/7”.
As it stands at the moment, Iluka is likely to be courted by the government to establish a ‘first responder’ service; however, no date for this initiative has been announced: volunteers would attend incidents while awaiting an ambulance.
“In the short term, the establishment of a community first responder may help whilst the fight for an ambulance station continues,” Mr Gulaptis said in concluding his speech to parliament.
“I see this as a first step in the process, just as it was at South West Rocks, which started off with a community first responder and ended up with an ambulance station a few years later.”
Ambulance call-outs to Iluka/Woombah for 2015/17 and 2016/17 were 380 and 344, respectively, which Mr Gulaptis told parliament was “significant enough to warrant consideration for an ambulance station”.
According to the 2016 Census, “the median age of people in Iluka … was 62 years”; and 55 per cent of the town’s 1,718 people were aged 60 and over, compared to NSW (29.9 per cent) and Australia (21.4 per cent).