Taxpayers foot medical bill for motocross riders
TAXPAYERS and charity organisations are believed to have paid at least $125,000 this year for motocross accidents requiring emergency services at a Warwick tourism park.
An analysis of Queensland Ambulance Service and RACQ LifeFlight figures by the Warwick Daily News shows a minimum of nine helicopters and 12 ambulances have attended motocross-related accidents at Gap Creek Farmstay at Tregony, east of Warwick since January.
Charity-funded chopper missions to the park cost $113,00 while the ambulance call-outs, covered by the state government, were up to $1000 a trip, with emergency services required at the facility totalling more than $125,000 during 2016.
QAS was this month forced to step in and meet with the owners of the park to discuss ways to minimise the drain on its resources after four ambulances were called to the park in two days, leaving patients elsewhere waiting hours for transport to hospitals.
One incident in December related to ambulance resources being tied up at Gap Creek Farmstay for a teenage boy who was seriously injured playing cricket. He waited four hours for an ambulance to transport him to a Brisbane hospital.
QAS assistant commissioner Rod Sheather said the park had agreed to review its safety procedures this month but he declined to comment on what measures were recommended to reduce the workload of emergency services.
Gap Creek Farmstay owners brothers Ben and Matt Window, who failed to answer questions this week, said previously each rider was given a safety induction and was required to sign an indemnity form.
Local motocross riders told the Warwick Daily News they avoided using circuits at Gap Creek Farmstay because of its accident record. Forums also question the safety of its trails, particularly for inexperienced riders.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chief operating officer Brian Guthrie said nine helicopters had flown to Gap Creek Farmstay this year at $12,500 a mission.
"This included a double mission on December 3 when both of our Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba helicopters were tasked to two separate motorcycle crashes at the park in the space of 30 minutes,” Mr Guthrie said.
"While we understand people want to pursue their passion for riding motorcycles, we urge everyone, wherever they're riding, to take care especially over the busy holiday period.”
Motorcycling Queensland operations manager Michael Brown said many of the the organisation's 80 clubs paid for paramedics to be on site.
"The clubs that affiliate with us want safety to be paramount, they have stringent risk management policies, first aid onsite, regular track inspections and many clubs pay for paramedics to be present which costs clubs about $1800 a day.”
Gap Creek Farmstay is not affiliated with the organisation, he said.