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Ex-pollie brings skills to RFDS

Friday, 30th August, 2013

Retired politician Amanda Vanstone is happy to chair the RFDS. Retired politician Amanda Vanstone is happy to chair the RFDS.

By Kurtis J Eichler

The new chairman of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Amanda Vanstone, says a visit to the Broken Hill base could be on the cards.

The former Howard government minister and Ambassador to Italy told the BDT that she was “quite surprised” when she got the call offering her the job.

While her direct links to the RFDS are slight, the 60-year-old says the job will be similar to a federal political cabinet dealing with state governments.

“The main thing is using that cabinet meeting experience to work with the states where there might be differing of opinions,” Ms Vanstone said.

The RFDS has a national board and a range of state sections that it needs to work with.

“I think it’s the most important Australian non-for-profit organisation that exists,” she said.

“It will go where others won’t.”

She also said a visit to the Broken Hill base could be workable.

“I’d like to,” Mrs Vanstone said. “I’d like to see what they do, not just in Broken Hill but a lot of other areas.

“I’ve heard many a story of the RFDS in that region, more than any other region.”

Mrs Vanstone’s appointment is part of a shake-up of the organisation which this year celebrates its 85th anniversary.

The Broken Hill base covers three states - an area roughly 15 times the size of Denmark - and operates four King Air planes and employs 78 staff locally.

The south eastern section - of which Broken Hill is a part - saw 56,220 patients between 2011/12 and facilitated more than 4000 clinics.

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