I will speak today about Surf Life Saving South Australia and how important an organisation it is to our community.
As opposition sports spokesman, I put on the record our respect for the great work the organisation carries out. I wish to talk about the challenges it faces currently.
Surf Life Saving South Australia recently went public about its desire to build a new much-needed headquarters on land set aside at Adelaide Shores, West Beach. To do this it will be seeking investment from the state government in the order of $1.6 million.
In the grand scheme of things, and when one considers the vital work Surf Life Saving South Australia undertakes, to me it is a very reasonable request.
Surf Life Saving South Australia is to be commended for the work it has put into its website, www.surfrescue.com.au, and in particular a section dedicated to explaining the need for a new headquarters. Surf Life Saving South Australia’s website lists the reasons why the organisation needs a new headquarters, and they are as follows:
We need to respond to incidents in a more efficient and coordinated manner.
We need to have core emergency service equipment ready to be deployed in the event of an emergency. Currently our life saving materials and equipment are stored in members’ backyards all along the coast.
We need a modern facility to allow us to train our 6,500 members and the community.
We must manage day-to-day life saving operations more effectively. This includes emergency service operations, the coordination of contract life guards and emergency response systems such as inflatable rescue boats, jet boats, jet rescue skis and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
We have a history of service to the state, and demands for our services continue to increase. In every year of our 56-year history we have averaged around 169 rescues where a life has been saved.
We will exhaust all of our cash reserves to pay for the new headquarters and training facility ($2 million), and we would like the government to meet the shortfall of $1.6 million.
The organisation’s Torrensville head office is reportedly overcrowded and no longer up to scratch. Life saving materials and equipment are stored in members’ backyard sheds across the suburbs. This is far from ideal and is in fact quite unacceptable.
Because of the current situation, a new headquarters is desperately needed as Surf Life Saving South Australia has significant concerns about its ability to respond effectively to a major incident along the coastline.
When one considers the large number of poor souls flocking to the beach at the moment due to this record heatwave, it is plain to see that the organisation needs the very best resources.
It is vital that equipment is stored in one suitable location to allow rapid and efficient deployment of resources in an emergency. A new headquarters is also needed to provide support for the community and a venue for training programs provided by Surf Life Saving South Australia, along with facilities for Surf Life Saving South Australia’s growing membership base.
I wish Surf Life Saving South Australia the very best of luck with this important project and trust that the state government will do all it can to assist the organisation financially.
I constantly receive feedback from the community that grassroots sport and recreation organisations are not receiving the funding they need from this government. I hope the Rann government steps up to the plate and supports Surf Life Saving South Australia in its particularly important venture.
By supporting Surf Life Saving South Australia, the government really will be helping to save lives.