It’s great to see so many people in our community support such an important cause while at the same time helping the environment.
Dugald Saunders - Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Western New South Wales and Member of Parliament (MP) for Dubbo
THE NEED FOR MEDICAL SERVICES IN REMOTE AREAS
People living in remote areas in Australia are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessibility of medical care. For instance, they might have to drive for hours by road before they can get medical care at the nearest city hospital.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is a not-for-profit aeromedical organisation that helps people living in these communities by ensuring they receive healthcare when needed. As well as emergency retrievals, the Royal Flying Doctor Service provides other medical services such as general practitioner clinics, mental and dental care, breast care, and chronic disease screening.
Their cause inspired TOMRA Collection Australia and the Return and Earn deposit return system in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) to partner with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, to raise funds that would help to bring much needed quality healthcare services to outback communities.
Pictured: Dr Randall Greenberg, Chief Medical Officer with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and Dugald Saunders, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Western New South Wales and Member of Parliament for Dubbo.
SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES ONE CONTAINER AT A TIME
Through the Return and Earn Container Deposit Scheme, NSW consumers pay a 10-cent deposit every time they purchase an eligible drink, such as those in bottles or cans, and receive back a refund when they return the empty beverage containers for recycling, for example at a reverse vending machine. Recyclers can also choose to donate their deposits to selected charitable organizations, direct from the reverse vending machine.
In April 2021, at the launch of the fundraising campaign, RFDS South Eastern Section CEO, Greg Sam, said, "This partnership will help raise vital funds and will allow us to continue delivering life-saving emergency medical retrievals and primary health care services to rural and remote communities."
HOW RECYCLING HELPED SAVE LIVES
At the end of the campaign, the Royal Flying Doctor Service raised AU$140,000, thanks to the generosity of the NSW residents who donated their deposit refunds. “It’s great to see so many people in our community support such an important cause while at the same time helping the environment,” said Dugald Saunders, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Western New South Wales and Dubbo MP.
The additional funds came at a time of a particular need, in the middle of the pandemic. Royal Flying Doctor South Eastern Section, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Randall Greenberg, said, “The pandemic has had a significant impact on rural and remote communities and the $140,000 funds raised through recycling means the Flying Doctor can continue bringing healthcare to outback families and communities who need it most.”