darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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August 14, 2013

Surf life saving clubs would benefit from an $8 million investment to reduce drownings under a Coalition Government according to Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

Mr Chester, a volunteer water safety officer at Gippsland surf life saving carnivals, said the funding would assist local clubs to purchase much-needed rescue equipment as well as first-aid and medical supplies.

“Four in five Australians visit the beach at some point every year and our surf lifesaving volunteers all do a fantastic job in keeping them safe,” Mr Chester said.

“However, as a volunteer movement they need adequate support from government to continue their great work.

“A typical surf club spends around $3,000 a year on medical supplies like lotions, band-aids and bandages. To assist them to make ends meet, a Coalition Government will provide local clubs with average grants of $25,000 over five years.”

Mr Chester said the Coalition’s plan to reduce drownings across Australia would also see $7 million invested into Australia’s peak water safety agencies.

He said the Coalition was committed to reducing the number of people who drown every week in waterways, at beaches and in tragic accidents at homes in pools and bathtubs.

“Sadly five people drown every week and in many cases, the circumstances are avoidable. We have a practical plan that works with water safety experts to reduce the number of drownings,” Mr Chester said.

The Coalition’s $15 million Policy to Reduce Drownings includes:

* $8 million to assist surf life saving clubs to purchase equipment and supplies;

* $2 million to expand the successful Beach Drowning Black Spot Reduction Program;

* $1 million to assist AUSTSWIM provide access to accredited swimming and water safety teachers amongst targeted population groups;

* Support the Royal Life Saving Society-Australia to reduce drowning across inland waterways by building a River Drowning Black Spot Identification Program and;

* Expansion of the Royal Life Saving Society-Australia’s Swim and Survive lessons for children who are known to miss out.

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