NSW to double marine rescue budget

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a funding boost for marine rescue services in the state with an extra $37.6 million pledged for Marine Rescue NSW (MRNSW) over the next four years.

The additional funding will more than double MRNSW’s annual budget and will be used to build new rescue vessels, upgrade operational centres and make improvements to the marine radio network.

“Community safety is our top priority and this major investment will deliver an extra layer of security and reassurance for anglers, divers and everybody who gets out on our amazing waterways,” said Premier Berejiklian.

“Whether it is our schools, hospitals or emergency services, we are delivering record investments to make a real difference for communities across NSW, and today’s announcement continues our commitment to world-class frontline services.”

The funding will be used to deliver 38 new vessels to 28 rescue units at the Alpine Lakes, Batemans Bay, Botany Port Hacking (Botany Bay and Port Hacking), Broken Bay, Central Coast, Cronulla, Crowdy Harrington, Eden, Evans Head, Hawkesbury, Jervis Bay, Kioloa, Lemon Tree Passage, Lord Howe Island, Merimbula, Moama, Nambucca, Narooma, Newcastle, Point Danger, Port Jackson, Port Kembla, Port Macquarie, Port Stephens, Sussex Inlet, Tuross, Woolgoolga and Tuggerah Lakes (The Entrance and Toukley).

The funding will also be used to establish a new rescue unit on Lord Howe Island, as well as new or upgraded bases and boat buildings at Tweed Heads, Ballina, Narooma, Lake Macquarie, Middle Harbour, Newcastle and the Central Coast.

In addition, Minister for Emergency Services, Troy Grant, said the investment will also allow MRNSW to upgrade the marine radio network which the service maintains and operates.

“This includes eliminating black spots along the south coast and on the Hawkesbury, making it much safer for boaters and the dedicated volunteers dispatched to support them in times of trouble,” he said.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos welcomed the announcement and said it will improve safety for boaters right across the state, and better equip the volunteers sent to support them in emergencies.

“For the first time we’ll be able to invest in a major capital works program to provide our units with efficient, safe and modern operating facilities,” he said.

MRNSW operates a network of 44 rescue units along the NSW coastline, and at two priority inland waterways on the Alpine Lakes and Murray River.

In 2017-18, crews performed 2,802 rescue missions, including 840 missions in response to life-threatening emergencies, saving more than 6,800 lives.

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