Victorian beaches will be better protected with the Andrews Labor Government’s $1 million-dollar plan to train surfers to save lives in the water was on track to be delivered in time for the next summer season.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville made the announcement while opening a new observation tower for lifesavers at Ocean Grove.
As thousands of Victorians flock to beaches across the state, the new initiative combined with upgraded facilities for life savers will continue the push to improve water safety and reduce drowning fatalities.
The Labor Government will deliver $800,000 for the successful Surfers Rescue 24/7 program at all Victorian boardriders clubs, as well as a modified program in secondary schools.
Surfers Victoria 24/7 teaches surfers critical CPR skills, how to perform board rescues and how to apply basic first aid in the water.
An extra $200,000 will fund Surfing Victoria to roll out a version of the program specifically tailored towards assisting scuba divers who find themselves in trouble.
The new tower in Ocean Grove, which is part of a number of upgrades underway at lifesaving clubs across the state, has views of the beach and coastline, and will also house the new digital radio system that is being rolled out to all Life Saving Victoria clubs.
The tower was funded with a Labor Government grant of more than $270,000, allocated through the Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability program.
The tower in Ocean Grove is in addition to Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club’s new clubhouse, which is under construction and on track to be completed in the first half of 2019.
The Labor Government has contributed a total of $4.35 million to the clubhouse build and the new observation tower, with the federal government and City of Geelong also providing funding.
The project is part of a wider redevelopment of the site, which includes a rebuild of the Dunes café. Ocean Grove beach is patrolled throughout the summer by volunteers and paid lifeguards.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville
“Every drowning death is one too many and that is why we need to have more people in the water that can save lives if they need to.”
“Surfers are always in the water at beaches right across our state and are often the first responders to emergencies, giving them the skills to save a life just makes sense.”
“The new observation tower at Ocean Grove beach will give volunteer lifesavers the perfect vantage point to spot beachgoers who are in need of assistance.”