A $30 million State government election promise to support Surf Life Saving Queensland has been confirmed at a function held at Parliament House in Brisbane.
An additional $6 million is provided from the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport for infrastructure projects such as surf club upgrades, relocations and repairs.
State Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Mark Ryan MP, told the Parliamentary Friends of SLSQ event last week that the SLSQ would receive the funding over four years.
“SLSQ has had a long and proud history in Queensland, keeping beachgoers safe for more than 90 years,” Mr Ryan said.
“They not only provide lifesaving services and surf sports, they are also instrumental in building awareness and community capability through public safety education, commercial training and fundraising.
“The state government recognises the vital community service SLSQ provides and this funding ensures they can continue their incredible work.
“The 34,000 dedicated and hardworking volunteers donate their time and watch over millions of local, interstate and international visitors who flock to our beaches each year.
“Our 57 Surf Life Saving Clubs deserve to be supported with equipment and infrastructure that helps them do their job. By working together, we can help SLSQ achieve their vision of zero preventable deaths in Queensland public waters.”
Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Surf Life Saving Queensland was one of our state’s largest volunteer-based community organisations.
“Many clubs are the hub of their coastal communities,” Mr Hinchliffe said. “The funding from the Palaszczuk Government means clubs will be able to make improvements to infrastructure and equipment.
“We know better facilities and equipment attract new members including an increase in the number girls joining up to take their place on the team and play important role in keeping Queensland beaches safe.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) will manage the service agreement aligned to this funding.
QFES Commissioner Greg Leach, who was at the event, said surf life savers were an integral part of emergency response on our beaches.
“Surf life savers are the bridge between the public and emergency services and when emergencies occur their actions saves lives,” Mr Leach said.
“Like many of our QFES volunteers, surf life savers show courage and resilience when faced with challenging and often dangerous situations. It is through their vigilance that we can feel safe while visiting and enjoying our incredible Queensland beaches.
The news follows recent ClubTIC reports on Surf Life Saving Clubs across the country scrambling for funds to upgrade facilities with ageing structures becoming increasingly decrepit and unusable.
Often at the heart of delays are a lack of finances, physical issues due to their location and age, in addition to concerns about existing historic buildings.
SLSA is the largest volunteer movement in Australia with more than 173,000 members and 314 affiliated surf clubs across the nation.
Meanwhile, Surf Life Saving Queensland has ordered a full review of every club in the state after a series of disturbing reports published by The Gold Coast Bulletin, including an alleged clubhouse rape on the Gold Coast.
All 57 clubs that patrol Queensland beaches will be put under the microscope in a review that will examine the safety of members, SLSQ says. Allegations include illegal footage taken inside club locker rooms, alleged sex tapes and a rape charge against an Australian Surf Lifesaving Championship competitor who faced a Gold Coast court in February.