Comms boost for WA volunteer marine rescue
Funding from the WA Government will provide new radio communications infrastructure for the state’s Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS).
The government is contributing $19.5 million over four years, which will go towards fit-for-purpose buildings, towing vehicles, trailers, radio communication infrastructure, and specialist marine rescue and safety equipment.
This unprecedented investment gives VMRS groups secure, long-term funding for the first time since being brought under the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
In some cases, volunteer groups have been operating with vessels that are 20 years old or older.
This financial year’s funding has been significantly boosted by $3 million and will grow by $4.5 million in 2019–20, and $6 million a year in 2020–21 and 2021–22.
The funding will also include the creation of two regionally based support roles in Geraldton and Karratha to provide administrative and training support. This will give volunteers more time for training and operational duty.
The funding will be supported by an increase in the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) of $28, on average, in metropolitan areas and between $8 and $17, on average, in regional areas.
“In a state such as Western Australia where so many people enjoy the coast and marine lifestyle, it is vital we do all we can to support those that are there for us if things go wrong,” said Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan.
“This record funding will bring much-needed safety and infrastructure investment to our Volunteer Marine Rescue Service groups.
“Many of them have operated for decades with their own fundraising efforts or with limited grants, so it is very pleasing to see that the modest increase in the Emergency Services Levy will go towards making these groups safer and more efficient.
“A modest increase to the ESL has not only funded the new Rural Fire Division, but has now provided significant investment in our sea rescue groups.
“Anyone who enjoys the water and the coast will recognise these groups are deserving recipients of this record funding.”
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