THE Australian subsidiary of an Israeli technology company will become a tenant of the Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section (RFDS SE) Dubbo Base as part of an $18 million investment in it.
From within the base Elbit Systems of Australia will run a commercial enterprise utilising a Beechcraft Kingair aircraft flight simulator.
Its staff will instruct pilots using the simulator, including RFDS pilots who currently train overseas at great expense.
Before Elbit Systems of Australia launches its business, the base will become a construction zone.
RFDS SE board member and president of the iconic service’s Dubbo Support Group Terry Clark has confirmed that new infrastructure is in the planning.
He said $1.1 million from the support group and $1.5 million from RFDS SE would be matched by the state government to pay for the expansion of the base.
Mr Clark said a bigger and better base would accommodate Elbit Systems of Australia and provide space for an RFDS SE aeromedical training centre that when appropriate would be on show to the visiting public.
The RFDS SE stalwart said the tourism component of the base would be significantly boosted by the development, set to generate at least 35 more jobs upon completion.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the “joint initiative” of Elbit Systems and the RFDS SE during a trip to Israel this week.
“This project will be an Australian-first,” he said.
“The centre will be the first aeromedical training facility in Australia to combine training for pilots as well as doctors and nurses.”
NSW Deputy Premier and state Member for Dubbo Troy Grant welcomed the projected impact on tourism.
“The flight simulator will be open to the public so we expect tourists to flock to the centre to get a taste of what it is like to fly the planes,” he said.
“This is a win for the local community and for regional NSW.
“The Flying Doctor’s Dubbo Base started operating in 1999 and this new centre highlights its value to our community.”
Chief executive officer of the RFDS SE Greg Sam accompanied Premier Baird’s trade delegation that took in the Elbit Systems facility at Netanya, north of Tel Aviv.
“The ability to train flight and medical staff simultaneously allows us to deliver an even higher level of aeromedical care for our patients and a safer operating environment for our staff,” Mr Sam said.
“I would like to thank Mike Baird, Elbit Systems, Dubbo City Council, and of course our long-standing community partners, the Dubbo Support Group, without whom this initiative would not be possible.”
Mr Sam said the support group had raised more than $3 million to date for the base and helped develop a model for community/ health provider partnerships.
“This announcement is great news for the people of Dubbo and central western NSW and for the RFDS SE,” he said.
“We have been expanding our facilities and clinic services in Dubbo as part of our 2015-19 strategic plan aimed at reducing the well-documented gap in health and wellness between those living in remote, rural and regional areas and those in the cities.”
Mr Clark said RFDS SE would pay Elbit Systems of Australia to train its pilots at what was becoming “ a major RFDS operating centre”.
He said the company would spend about $12 million setting up its business at the RFDS SE Dubbo Base.