Safer beaches this summer
Great Southerners will be safer at the beach this summer with Denmark and Albany Surf Lifesaving Clubs each receiving a funding boost of $25,000 over five years through the Australian Government’s Beach Safety Equipment Fund that aims to prevent drownings at local beaches.
Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said the funding will assist the clubs to purchase new rescue equipment, first aid and medical supplies so their life savers can continue to save lives.
“Australians love to go to the beach and it will be a key part of most Australians plans for this summer,” Mr Wilson said.
“Our beautiful beaches are an important attraction for local residents and tourists alike. This new funding will ensure our life savers have the equipment they need to keep people safe and prevent a holiday from becoming a tragedy.”
Each of Australia’s 311 Surf Life Saving Clubs will receive the funding over five years from the Australian Government’s $8 million Beach Safety Equipment Fund. Beach Safety Equipment Funding will be directed towards the purchase of vital rescue equipment, first aid and medical supplies.
SLSA’s Coastal Drowning Report identified 121 coastal drowning deaths in Australia in 2013.
“Each year, Australia’s dedicated life savers perform about 12,000 rescues and 32,000 first aid treatments. The Beach Safety Equipment Fund provides support directly where it is needed most – to support the volunteers surf lifesavers patrolling beaches,” he said.
Surf Life Saving Australia President Graham Ford said, “Surf Life Savers have been patrolling Australia’s coastline for more than 100 years but there have been significant improvements to the way we facilitate our primary goal of keeping our beaches safe.
“Technology has improved and the availability of equipment to patrolling members and clubs is the best it has ever been. The Beach Safety Equipment Fund enables our clubs to have the best possible tools available to them to help save lives when the need arises.
“This is a fantastic initiative from the Federal Government and they should be applauded for their foresight in recognising the basic need to keep our coastline safe. On behalf of all Surf Life Saving clubs around Australia, thank you for your support.”
In addition to the $8 million for new and upgraded lifesaving and first aid equipment, the Australian Government is providing $2 million for the Beach Drowning Black Spot Reduction Programme which aims to reduce drowning at dangerous beaches and provide public safety programmes that highlight coastal hazards such as rip currents and rock fishing.
These programmes are part of the Government’s $15 million package to cut drowning deaths across the nation.
It includes $4 million to assist the Royal Life Saving Society to prevent drownings in inland waterways and an existing$1 million a year to produce, develop and distribute water safety messages, DVDs and educational material targeting more than 1.5 million Australian children aged up to four years.
“The educational material developed by former Olympic swimming coach Laurie Lawrence delivers key water safety messages to youngsters in a fun and engaging way,” Mr Wilson said.
“They are being distributed nationally to child care centres, kindergartens and play groups and are available online at www.kidsalive.com.au.”