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Surf Life Saving Australia receives $9.7M to protect beachgoers

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Image by CSG Ltd. via https://www.cheapsurfgear.com

The Australian Government is providing an additional $9.7 million to fund Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), further protecting beachgoers and improving volunteer lifesaving skills. 

The added funding adds on a further $21 million over the next three years for the Water and Snow Safety Program. 

“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,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. 

“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.” 

248 drownings have been recorded from July 2019 to the end of June 2020, with more than half of the fatalities occurring in coastal areas. 

Through the Water and Snow Safety Program, the Australian Government will invest $3.1 million to support SLSA’s Beach Safety Equipment Fund to help prevent fatal and non-fatal drownings. 

With this investment, surf lifesaving clubs will now be able to access up to $10,000 over the next two years to purchase new or replacement patrol rescue equipment. The funding also includes $6.6 million 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. 

Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said the training offered by Surf Life Saving provided the club volunteers and members with skills aside from lifesaving. 

“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,” Minister Colbeck said.

“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 those who rely on the best skills and equipment to keep beachgoers safe. 

“The efforts of our Surf Life Savers should not be underestimated,” Mr Falinski said. “Every day during the summer season, thousands of dedicated volunteers are keeping swimmers safe. 

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

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