UPDATE: Council will donate new ambulance to koala rescuers
UPDATE: A GROUP of koala rescuers will soon have a new ambulance after Ipswich City Council formally agreed to donate a former council vehicle.
The decision was made by the council on Tuesday.
A VOLUNTEER group caring for some of Ipswich's most vulnerable and displaced residents has been given the best Christmas present ever; a new ute.
Ipswich Koala Protection Society put a call out the week before Christmas, highlighting the group's desperate need for a new "koala ambulance".
The fleet of two four-wheel drives, equipped with everything the group needs to care for animals, had been reduced to one and rescuers feared that vehicle was on its last legs.
The gift was exactly what the group's president Ruth Lewis had asked Santa for; although she was suspicious at first.
"My phone rang and a voice said it was Mayor Paul," Ruth said.
"I thought yeah right, out of all the people in Ipswich why would he be ringing me to say Merry Christmas?
"I thought it was a prank call and started looking around to see which of my family members was responsible."
But the call was no joke - Cr Pisasale was ringing to deliver some good news after he read an article in the QT stating the group needed to raise about $30,000 for a new ambulance.
Cr Pisasale said it was a unanimous decision on whether the council could deliver the Christmas wish.
By February the Ipswich Koala Protection Society will be the owner of the near-new ex-council ute, pending formal council approval at a meeting in January.
"When I read that story I thought, here is a situation where they need help and we can give it to them," Cr Pisasale said.
"If they have to fundraise that money it takes time away from looking after all the koalas.
"We want to make sure they have the resources they need to do their job properly."
The council's fleet cars are traded in at 40,000km but instead a suitable dual cab, four-wheel drive will be set aside for Ipswich Koala Protection Society.
Cr Pisasale said the council would also pay for the sign writing and any changes the volunteer group needs to get the new ambulance on the road.
"It's amazing," Ruth said.
"It means we can still be on the road in a vehicle that's reliable.
"When you're called out at midnight to go to a koala in the middle of nowhere you want to know that you'll get to the animal quickly, but also that you will get home to your family."