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December 14, 2015

Gippsland surf life saving clubs will get a $5000 funding boost from the Federal Government to help keep local beaches safer this summer.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said clubs at Seaspray, Woodside Beach, Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota would benefit from the Commonwealth’s annual Beach Safety Equipment Fund.

“Our local surf lifesavers play a pivotal role in protecting swimmers at our beaches and this funding will enable them to buy essential rescue equipment, first aid and medical supplies,” Mr Chester said.

“These clubs are volunteer-based and rely heavily on donations, so any additional funding the Federal Government can provide is welcome.”

Mr Chester, who is a volunteer water safety officer with Lakes Entrance SLSC, said the start of the summer holidays was a timely reminder to play it safe on the water.

“Gippsland’s beaches are popular with holiday-makers who may not be familiar with the local conditions, and it is inevitable our lifesavers will be called upon again this summer to provide assistance,” Mr Chester said.

“The best way to stay safe this summer is to only swim at a beach patrolled by lifesavers, or professional lifeguards.

“A recent National Coastal Safety Report found four-in-ten coastal drowning deaths occurred more than five kilometres from a surf lifesaving club – just 45 per cent of people swim at patrolled beaches during patrol hours.”

The Beach Safety Equipment Fund is in addition to annual government funding of about $8.5 million to support water safety in Australia, which is being provided to the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, Surf Life Saving Australia, AUSTSWIM and Laurie Lawrence Swimming Enterprises.

Additional information on Commonwealth funding for water safety is at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/water-and-snow-safety

CAPTION: Gippsland MP and volunteer water safety officer Darren Chester has welcomed a $5000 funding allocation to local surf life saving clubs ahead of the busy summer period.

 

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