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Prime Minister Morrison pledges extra funds for Surf Life Saving across Australia

Prime Minister Morrison pledges extra funds for Surf Life Saving across Australia
February 20, 2021

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today announced that the Federal Government is provide $9.7 million in additional funding to Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).

Speaking at the Collaroy Surf Life Saving Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Prime Minister Morrison said the additional funding would help save lives and builds on a further $21 million over the next three years for the Water and Snow Safety Program.

He advised “our surf lifesavers play such a vital role at our beaches saving lives and dealing with emergencies in the water and on the beach day in, day out.

“This additional funding will ensure our local clubs will have the ability to purchase vital equipment and medical supplies that they need to keep Australians safe on our beaches.”

From July 2019 to the end of June 2020, there were 248 drownings in Australia with more than half of the fatalities occurring in coastal areas.

The Federal Government will invest $3.1 million through the Water and Snow Safety Program, to support SLSA’s Beach Safety Equipment Fund aimed at preventing fatal and non-fatal drownings.

It means surf lifesaving clubs will now be able to access up to $10,000 per annum over the next two years to purchase new or replacement patrol equipment such as rescue boards, life jackets, rescue manikins, inflatable rescue boats, all-terrain vehicles, defibrillators, and first aid and medical supplies.

The new funding also includes $6.6 million over two years to continue providing vocational education and training (VET) to volunteers and build on SLSA’s capability.

SLSA is the largest volunteer movement in Australia with more than 173,000 members and 314 affiliated surf clubs across the length and breadth of the nation.

Also present on Collaroy Beach, Federal Minister for Sport, Richard Colbeck said the training offered by Surf Life Saving to club volunteers and members provided them with transferrable skills beyond lifesaving, commenting “as well as being able to use new skills learnt during VET training for the purpose of life-saving, around 25 per cent of SLS members believe these new skills helped them gain employment.

“This funding will also help upgrade SLSA’s technology to enhance the training it offers, cut red tape and expand its recruitment and recognition of supervisors, trainers and assessors at clubs.”

Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski, said the funding would be vital for Surf Life Saving clubs like Collaroy where volunteers, who have already performed 5000 patrol hours this season, rely on the best skills and equipment to keep beachgoers safe.

Falinski “the efforts of our Surf Life Savers should not be underestimated.

“Every day during the summer season, thousands of dedicated volunteers are keeping swimmers safe.

“With this significant support, the (Federal) Government is ensuring clubs and their members across the country can continue to do what they do best - saving lives.”

The additional funding for SLSA’s Beach Safety Equipment Fund brings the Government’s investment for this initiative to $9.1 million from 2018/19 to 2021/22.

No mention was made of the role of professional lifesavers employed by local councils in ocean and open water safety.

Images: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison [centre] makes the funding announcement with Surf Life Saving Australia representatives and Federal Minister for Sport, Richard Colbeck [second from right] and local member Jason Falinski [fourth from right] (top) and Prime Minister Scott Morrison [right] with Jason Falinski and local life saving volunteers [below]. Credit: Jason Falinski.

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15th January 2020 - Audit Office report confirms that Federal Government targeted marginal seats with potentially illegal sports grants

9th December 2019 - Surf Life Saving NSW report identifies trends and areas of concern for the 2019/20 Summer

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