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Surf Life Saving makes $3.6 billion economic contribution to the community

Surf Life Saving makes $3.6 billion economic contribution to the community
October 12, 2011

The total value to the Australian economy of Surf Life Saving's coastal drowning and injury prevention efforts in 2009/10 has been estimated to be worth $3.6 billion.

This is the key finding of a new report by PwC being launched this morning at Parliament House in Canbera by Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Mark Arbib.

The PwC report, 'What is the economic contribution of Surf Life Saving in Australia', also found that for every $1 invested by government, sponsors and the community into Surf Life Saving's drowning and injury prevention services the cost benefit ratio is 29:1.

Introducing the report, Surf Life Saving Australia Chief Executive Brett Williamson OAM explained "last year our surf lifesavers and lifeguards completed 12,000 rescues across Australia. This year, that figure increased to 14,000.

"Australians already recognise Surf Life Saving as an iconic organisation that is the nation's major beach and coastal water safety authority.

"The key findings of the PwC report will provide an even better understanding of the enormous contribution of our surf lifesavers each year, to make our beaches safer places to enjoy."

The PwC report states, "the benefits of Surf Life Saving far outweigh the costs, further proving its unique and significant value to the Australian community and economy."

In the absence of Surf Life Saving's core water safety services in 2009/10, PwC estimates there would have been:

• 596 additional drowning deaths
• 555 additional permanent incapacitations
• 2,591 additional minor injuries or first aid treatments.

The recently released SLSA National Coastal Safety Report demonstrates the need for increased water safety services, having reported an average of 89 coastal drowning deaths in Australia every year for the past seven years.

Williamson adds "Australia's beaches remain the country's largest playground with more than 100 million visitations every year.

"With rising coastal populations and international visitor numbers, keeping people safe in the water is an increasingly difficult challenge.

"It is a tribute to the dedication and skill of our volunteers that they are able to save so many lives, prevent so many injuries and make such an important contribution to the nation."

Williamson said SLSA would include the key findings of the PwC report in its proposal to the Government for the establishment of an Australian Beach Safety Fund.

Snapshot summary: What is the Economic contribution of Surf Life Saving in Australia? Surf Life Saving's water safety efforts are estimated to be worth $3.6 billion to Australia each year. In the absence of Surf Life Saving's water safety activities last year it is estimated almost 600 extra people would have lost their lives on our beaches. Over 70% of SLSA members volunteer more than three hours a week during the summer. 50% patrol between three and 10 hours a week. Almost 25% donate in excess of 10 hours. For every $1 invested by government, sponsors and the community into Surf Life Saving's drowning and injury prevention services, the benefits are equal to approximately $29.

Surf Life Saving Australia

With 311 clubs around the nation, Surf Life Saving Australia is Australia's major beach safety and lifesaving authority and the largest volunteer water safety organisation in the world.

Created in 1907, SLSA has evolved into an organisation that today:

• Has 311 clubs and around 70 support services (jet boats, offshore boats, rescue water craft);
• Has 158,806 members;
• Operates nine Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Services;
• Has 55 professional lifeguard/contract services;
• Performs around 14,000 rescues, administers 67,500 first aid treatments and undertakes 734,000 preventative actions every year;
• Conducts public safety campaigns targeting areas known for rip currents and rock fishing to try to ensure that those who use our beaches know how to stay out of danger.

To read or download the PwC report go to www.sls.com.au/publications

Related Articles

10th October 2011 - National Coastal Safety Report confirms 61 coastal drownings in 2010/11

11th November 2010 - Coastal drownings prompts new campaign for international tourists and migrants

25th January 2010 - SLSA urge Australia Day safety: swim between the red and yellow flags


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