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Funding for rescue groups to make boating safer

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

A record funding commitment for the State’s volunteer marine groups could not have come at a better time, according to a Bunbury Sea Rescue skipper.

Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan last week confirmed $19.5 million over four years secured through an increase of the Emergency Services Levy.

It is hoped the money will ease pressure on sea rescue groups’ fundraising efforts which had been heavily relied on.

The Bunbury volunteer group welcomed the funding, with skipper Brett Ladhams saying the crew’s base and fleet needed attention.

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“This amount over four years gives our group and all the others across the State greater certainty to plan for the future,” Mr Ladhams said.

“It really couldn’t have come at a better time – after months of research, this month we will be submitting a funding application for a new high-speed rescue boat.

“And while there are no guarantees, it’s certainly more likely to be approved following this announcement. Our base is ageing and we really need to take steps to plan a more appropriate base for our expanding group.

“The Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront project will have a positive impact on the Casuarina Harbour area and we want to be in a position to keep in step with the aesthetic changes that will occur.”

Mr Logan said it was vital marine rescue groups received support in areas where so many enjoyed the marine lifestyle.

“This record funding will bring much-needed safety and infrastructure investment to our Volunteer Marine Rescue service groups,” he said.

“Many of them have operated for decades with their own fundraising or limited grants, so it is very pleasing to see the modest increase in the Emergency Services Levy will go towards making these groups safer and more efficient.”

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