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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Promises, promises, promises ; but only if re-elected

At the end of a summer that saw more than 75 drowning deaths in Australia, according to the Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll the election promise of the premier to provide $23 million to Surf Life Saving NSW comes too late. Keep in mind the proviso: "A re-elected NSW Government will inject $23 million in to Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) to deliver vital new rescue equipment to help keep people safe along our coastline". That means that if they aren't re-elected there is no deal. The Premier said "the funding would deliver additional rescue vehicles, jet skis, Emergency Response Beacons and communications upgrades right across the state and would include an additional $5 million for an expansion of the successful Surf Club Facilities Program. Again, keeping in mind that it is a proviso "if re-elected" the new rescue vehicles and jet skis can apparently also be used during natural disasters like floods. Of interest is the comment by SLSNSW President George Shales who said an investment in lifesavers is an investment in community safety. “I welcome today’s announcement [keep in mind it is only an election promise if re-elected] , which is a significant increase on previous NSW Government support for our thousands of volunteers and hundreds of staff. Every single dollar will make a difference to the equipment and resources our volunteers rely on, helping us to save more lives,” Mr Shales said. Note that in the Premier's media release of February 18th 2023 Mr Shales said “I welcome today’s announcement, which is a significant increase on previous NSW Government support for our thousands of volunteers and hundreds of staff". Surely Mr Shales is aware that the previous NSW Government (Labor) was 12 years ago. By his comment "which is a significant increase on previous NSW Government support" is Mr Shales, who has been president of Surf Lifesaving NSW since May 2019, having a shot at the previous NSW Government under Gladys Berejiklian or is he having a go at the last Labor government who lost power in March 2011? Given that the NSW government was found wanting in their response to the Northern NSW floods what you have in this "announcement" is little more that the government fixing a gaping wound of its own making

The $23 million funding if-relected promise would cover:

• 22 new rescue vehicles and 68 new jet skis, which can also be deployed during other natural disasters like floods; • 40 additional Emergency Response Beacons, enabling lifesavers to remotely monitor unpatrolled sections of the NSW coastline; • Additional emergency management staff permanently based in Regional NSW; • Radio communications upgrades along the south and north coasts; and • An additional $5 million for the Surf Club Facility Program The Premier says "There are 76,000 SLSNSW members, of which 21,000 are frontline volunteers who patrol 129 coastal locations every weekend and public holiday between the October long weekend and Anzac Day long weekend". Is this announcement aimed at garnering 76,000 votes with the promise of equipment "if re-elected".


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