Member’s Statement: Warrnambool Surf Lifesaving Club

I want to say thank you to all the emergency services workers in South-West Coast and in particular the surf lifesaving clubs, who have been very busy this summer. I have had the pleasure of holidaying in Warrnambool, where I live. It is a bit of an oddity, but it is a local tradition and many families do it every year. I have been doing it for over a decade. I was reminded whilst enjoying the beautiful beach in Warrnambool how much work the surf lifesaving clubs do while we enjoy ourselves in the water. I was also at the Hopkins River when the emergency services were assisting a stranded jetskier off the coast. It was quite eerie watching the air ambulance search-and-rescue chopper overhead while we were swimming.

On that day, though, there was logistical chaos at the Warrnambool Surf Lifesaving Club because the facilities just do not meet the requirements for emergencies anymore. There was nowhere emergency services vehicles could park and respond to the unfolding situation. The space is extremely limited and is shared with a public car-parking area, which as you can imagine, on a 40-degree day was incredibly busy. The precinct needs a significant overhaul. It was built in the 1960s, and aside from cosmetic works, there has been little change since it first opened despite significant changes in how emergencies are responded to. Our surf lifesavers do an amazing job all summer, and yet the operating environment they work out of is no longer at the standard it needs to be to allow for a modern response. I would ask the Minister for Police and Emergency Services to consider the Warrnambool Surf Lifesaving Club for an upgrade to give our busy surf lifesavers the facilities they need and deserve.

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