Thursday 22 November
Hansard of the
SPECIAL INTEREST MATTERS
VOLUNTEER MARINE RESCUE GROUPS
Mr Finch (Rosevears) - It may be news to some of the members here that the
marine rescue system around Tasmania has been restructured to make it more
effective and the eight volunteer rescue services now have an assured future.
All eight volunteer marine rescue groups, including the one based on the Tamar
in my electorate, the Tamar Sea Rescue, affiliate with Surf Life Saving
Tasmania during this year. The volunteer organisations have gone through
challenging and, at times, even threatening moments over the past few years.
What was formerly called the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol has been facing a
very uncertain future, stabilised to a certain extent when David Llewellyn took
an interest and involved the groups in Coastguard Australia. However, that has not
been as successful as everyone hoped.
Speaking for my own electorate, the
Tamar division of the patrol have had to raise all their own funding. They have
been very successful at that because of the job they do. A few years ago they
got an unwanted vessel from New South
Wales, the Goondooloo II, and had it refitted
at their own expense. It is a fantastic vessel. It has performed numerous sea
rescues and won quite a lot of awards including the Australian naval award for
the most efficient division in Australia;
very prestigious. The Goondooloo II has helped in more than 70 emergency
The honourable member for Windermere
might be interested in the fact that recently we had the blessing of a new
police launch called the Protector IV which was on its way to Flinders Island. Sadly, when I went there they
were on a rescue operation. You may remember the kayaker who died in Bass Strait - it was involved in that rescue. Bryn
Warrick was the radio operator and the rescue was taking place as we blessed
the Protector IV.
The volunteer groups are at Tamar, St
Helens, St Helens Point, Freycinet, Dodges Ferry, Prince of Wales Bay, Kettering and Ulverstone.
They now all operate with Surf Life Saving Tasmania's three services and they,
of course, have their own rescue boats and what are called rescue personal
watercraft. This means that all 22 surf lifesaving and volunteer rescue groups
now operate under the one umbrella organisation, Surf Life Saving Tasmania,
which then disperses financial support to these volunteer groups for their
operating expenditure and also helps with expenses such as fuel which, in this
day and age, can be quite costly.
The restructuring of our coastal rescue
services has led to faster and better communications in a marine emergency. If
you make a triple zero call or public notification to any police station, that
now goes immediately to the police radio room and after assessment goes to one
of five duty officers who have a list of resources and assets. A call then goes
to that representative who advises on the appropriate resources and whether
they can then help with the emergency. The whole process is faster and more
efficient. A rescue vessel can be at sea quickly and in the right place, and it
really is a classic example of combining rescue resources at optimum
I must admit when I first heard that
the organisations were going to come under Surf Life Saving Tasmania I
questioned the wisdom of that, that they were going to be the overarching body
with that responsibility for allocating the funds, but it seems to be working.
I have spoken just recently to the Tamar Sea Rescue and they are quite happy
with the circumstance, as are St Helens, but
there are some minor details to be ironed out in other areas.
Surf Life Saving Tasmania provides a
tremendous amount of support to these volunteer groups with development,
activation of relevant competency frameworks - which are very important in this
day and age - delivery of training packages and ongoing training. They write
standard operating procedures, they provide access to administrative support
through Surf Life Saving Tasmania and give access to national expertise. They
coordinate, promote and lobby for and on behalf of the groups. They give
assistance in a coordinated approach to grant writing and sponsorship. They
help coordinate and implement search and rescue exercises in some of the
regions involving the police, ambulance and the volunteer rescue groups, and
the more of those the more skilled the operators will become.
With this restructuring there were some
reservations and feelings of insecurity and there are probably still a few, but
generally I can say that those who go to sea in boats should applaud this
arrangement for our sea rescue services that now exists with Surf Life Saving
Members - Hear, hear.