Sunshine Coast beaches are set to be even safer after a record funding deal that will secure new technology and better communication.
The agreement between Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) and the Queensland Government will deliver $30 million to the movement over the next four years.
It represents the largest ever single investment in SLSQ.
The funding arrangement will support operations, training, equipment and public safety education.
It also will help provide a technology boost, expanding the use of drones (pictured below), and better connect lifesavers with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Queensland Police and the Queensland Ambulance Service.
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Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan MP said the new agreement represented a significant investment in community safety.
“The Queensland Government’s $30 million commitment to SLSQ is an investment in water safety,” Mr Ryan said.
“The state government has a long history of supporting SLSQ, having maintained Service Agreements with the not-for-profit organisation since 1997.
“SLSQ plays a vital role in keeping Queenslanders and tourists safe when they’re enjoying our beautiful beaches.
“We’re known for our wonderful waterways and this funding will enable SLSQ to continue their important work and support their vision of zero preventable deaths in Queensland public waters.”
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SLSQ President, Mark Fife OAM, said the new $30 million partnership would serve to grow Surf Life Saving Queensland’s capability and capacity on Queensland beaches.
“It will further empower our volunteers, clubs and branches in providing the best possible frontline beach safety,” Mr Fife said.
“The new agreement will see us upgrade our current communications structure at our State Operations Communications Centre over the next two years, which will allow us to be further connected with QFES, Queensland Police and Queensland Ambulance Service.
“We will upgrade our technology, including drones and our two helicopters with the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service,” Mr Fife said.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Greg Leach said it was a unique partnership between QFES and SLSQ.
“Like QFES, SLSQ relies on dedicated volunteers and this funding is important to ensure they have the equipment and infrastructure they need to perform vital community services,” Mr Leach said.
“I’m happy that we can support SLSQ to deliver such an impactful service to the community.
“They are renowned for their unwavering dedication to water safety and their iconic red and yellow flags on Queensland beaches.
“A modern public safety organisation needs to reflect the changing needs of the community and during today’s capability demonstration, we have seen some of the incredible ways SLSQ is embracing different technologies to keep beachgoers safe.
“From helicopter flyovers to rescues using jet skis, inflatable rescue boats and drones dropping an inflatable device in a pod, SLSQ volunteers have shown they can respond quickly to calls for help.
“Locals and tourists alike can rest assured that when it comes to prevention and rescues, SLSQ’s volunteers in red and yellow are more than up to the task.”