In South-West Coast we have three voluntary marine emergency services based in Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland. Each provides a vital service to the region, especially since a large part of the community relies on the sea and tourism is continuing to grow on the back of recreational fishing, particularly during bluefin tuna season. To be able to continue to provide this service these groups have to go out rattling tins and rely on the generosity of the community. These brave volunteers save lives and often work in the bleakest conditions. I think they deserve at least basic funding for fuel and training and for other basics like those other emergency services get.
The previous Napthine Liberal government commissioned an inquiry that recommended these services should receive recurrent funding to cover operational costs. It is time to respect the volunteers and to implement these recommendations so the people who respond so diligently to critical incidents at sea can focus on saving lives rather than organising sausage sizzles to make sure there is enough fuel in the tank for the next rescue and training.