Ambulances to give help in fiji
SICK Fijians travelling in decommissioned Queensland ambulances in the future will owe their care to a consortium of Ipswich people.
Ipswich pensioner Leigh Harris, the Rotary Club of Ipswich North and the state government have joined forces to make the donation of four ambulances possible.
The vehicles, donated by the Department of Emergency Services, were delivered to a Brisbane wharf on Monday and will be shipped to Fiji this Friday.
Fiji's prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has also played a part in the humanitarian exercise by waiving restrictions on their import to the needy country.
Mr Harris said the Fijian prime minister is patron of the St John Ambulance, which will take delivery of the vehicles.
“St John's will be ecstatic. There's only 12 ambulances in the whole of Fiji,” he said.
“What they've got over there as ambulances are school buses from Japan.
“They took the seats out and bolted a stretcher in.”
Mr Harris said he was grateful to Member for Ipswich West Wayne Wendt, who had arranged the ambulance donation, and other donors.
“Everything was donated, even the wharfies and the shipping company - they did it all for nothing,” he said.
“It would've cost all up about $6500 each to get the ambulances to Fiji.
“The RACQ threw in the insurance. Queensland transport threw in the permits. The customs agent did it for nothing.”
Mr Wendt said ex-Queensland ambulances were usually sold at auction.
“(Sending them to Fiji) is a great outcome,” he said.
Rotary Club of Ipswich North president Gerard Pender said Mr Harris had done a great job.
“We're keen to support a worthy community project,” he said. “Obviously Fiji is a country that struggles.”
Earlier this year, Mr Harris arranged the shipping of furniture, hospital and medical equipment, and school books to Fiji.