Regional tourism boom sparks $1m defib rollout

The government will invest $1 million in defibrillators at 1000 caravan parks across Australia.

The partnership with Caravan Industry Association of Australia will see the lifesaving equipment, which delivers an electric charge to reset the body’s natural rhythm following a heart attack, made available to some 11 million campers annually.

Minister for health Greg Hunt said the equipment would make caravan and camping trips to regional Australia safer.

“Research shows that if a person is defibrillated within the first five minutes of collapse, their chance of survival is around 90 percent,” he said.

“For every minute that this is delayed, the chances of survival decrease by up to ten percent. This initiative will save and protect lives.”

Caravan Industry Association of Australia will manage the implementation of the program on a 50:50 partnership with caravan parks, contributing half the cost of each defibrillator and working with the parks to ensure a speedy roll-out of the program.

Regional services minister Bridget McKenzie said the investment will provide peace of mind for regional holidaymakers looking to get away from it all and explore the natural beauty of Australia.

“We know that more and more Australians are visiting our regions and by increasing their attractiveness to domestic and especially international visitors with better medical amenities, it will help grow regional economies.

“With 44 cents of every tourist dollar spent in regional areas and the industry providing eight percent of employment in the regions, it makes smart economic sense as well as medical.”

CEO of Caravan Industry Association of Australia, Stuart Lamont, welcomed the funding as a “common sense initiative” that will put latest technology into holiday locations across the nation.

 “Caravan parks are popular holiday destinations, particularly with senior Australians who are at an increased risk of heart attack,” he said.

“We also know that in rural and regional areas it can take longer for an ambulance to arrive, given the distances they sometimes have to travel.

“This program will ensure that if a person suffers a heart attack in a caravan park that lifesaving help is close to hand,” Mr Lamont said.

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