SURF lifesaving clubs across Australia will be getting a funding boost from the government.
The Minister for Sport Peter Dutton announced on Sunday the Government will provide $8 million over five years to the nation’s surf lifesaving clubs to help prevent drowning deaths at our beaches.
Under the Beach Safety Equipment Fund, about $25,000 over five years will be provided to each of the 311 Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) clubs so they can purchase essential rescue equipment, first aid and medical supplies.
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“Australians love to go to the beach and it will be a key part of most Australians’ plans for this summer,” Mr Dutton said.
“However, coastal waters can be hazardous and each year our dedicated life savers perform about 12,000 rescues and 32,000 first aid treatments. It’s therefore essential that clubs have the best equipment so they can continue to save lives and reduce the tragedy of drowning.”
“The Beach Safety Equipment Fund provides support directly where it is needed most – to support the volunteers patrolling beaches in surf lifesaving clubs throughout Australia.”
The 2013 Coastal Drowning Report, produced by Surf Life Saving Australia, identified 121 coastal drowning deaths in Australia in 2013.
“I would like to personally thank the 311 surf lifesaving clubs and their volunteers for the critical support they provide in keeping our beaches safe this summer” Mr Dutton said.
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 which includes $4 million to assist the Royal Life Saving Society prevent drownings in inland waterways and an existing commitment of $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.