[22 January, 2007] V The Li Ka-shing Foundation announced the donation of A$3 million over ten years to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (“RFDS”) of Australia.
The pledged A$3 million will be used to fund an innovative public health and education programme initiated by RFDS and represents the largest donation of its kind received by the organization in its entire 79-year history. The project’s overriding vision is to promote, encourage and support healthy lifestyle changes in remote areas of South Australia, focusing on increased physical activity, improved dietary intake and health education.
The Programme aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous and non-Indigenous South Australians, who are prone to obesity-related conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, and endocrine diseases.
The announcement ceremony was attended by Premier Mike Rann of South Australia; Mr Peter Tulloch, Chairman of the Management Committee of the Programme and Chairman of ETSA Utilities; and Mr David Hills, Chairman of RFDS Central Operations.
Announcing the sponsorship, Mr Tulloch said: “The Li Ka-shing Foundation is pleased to support the invaluable work of the RFDS through this ten-year commitment to health improvement in South Australia. The RFDS is the largest and most comprehensive aero-medical organization in the world, providing a crucial lifeline to those who live, work and travel in rural and remote Australia.”
Mr Tulloch continued, “With a long history of promoting educational, health and humanitarian initiatives around the world, the Li Ka Shing Foundation is committed to supporting pioneering projects that foster a better society. We believe that this long-term initiative will bring immense benefits to the community.”
Mr Hills said: “We are delighted with the commitment from the Li Ka-shing Foundation, without whose support the RFDS would not be in a position to deliver this progamme.”
“A health programme of this scale, with a ten-year commitment, offers the opportunity to make a tremendous generational difference in improving health outcomes in regional South Australia,” Mr Hills continued.
Under the sponsorship, the RFDS will employ two specialists at its Port Augusta base to oversee the programme and liaise with communities across South Australia. The progress of the project will be monitored and the subject of scientific research papers.
The Li Ka-shing Foundation was established by Mr Li Ka-shing in 1980. The Foundation focuses on capacity building and the nurturing of a caring society, reflecting the founder’s belief that a culture of giving is crucial to the well-being of society. More than 80% of the Foundation’s gifts and endowments are in education, medical research and healthcare projects. Since its establishment, the Li Ka Shing Foundation and other private charitable Foundations set up by Mr Li have supported numerous charities with commitments of over A$1.3 billion (HK$8.3 billion).
Mr Li is founder of the Cheung Kong Group, of which Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited (a part owner of ETSA Utilities) is a member.
The RFDS is one of Australia’s great icons and in 2007 will celebrate 79 years of service to the community. The RFDS is widely recognized as the world’s most unique provider of aero-medical services.
Last year the RFDS flew more than 20 million kilometres across Australia with crews making 230,000 patient contacts. The RFDS has expanded its traditional role of providing emergency flights for victims of accident or illness to include clinic flights to isolated communities, rural women’s General Practitioner service, air ambulance transfers, mental health services and the provision of medical chests to isolated communities
RFDS Central Operations serves South Australia and the lower half of the Northern Territory from bases in Adelaide, Port Augusta and Alice Springs.
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