Record Investment In Marine Search And Rescue

Victoria’s Marine Search and Rescue volunteers are being given an extra $11.3 million to help them buy new vessels, equipment and protective clothing, as well as cover fuel and other operating costs thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today joined Member for Carrum Sonya Kilkenny to announce the record funding would be provided over the 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial years.

Mr Merlino said it was a crucial investment in the sector, which would significantly reduce the fundraising burden on volunteers.

He said it was the first time MSAR had been funded in this way, and was part of a wider program of reforms that would improve governance and deliver better coordination between Marine Search and Rescue units.

Today’s funding announcement will drive a range of improvements, including:

  • A capital program to replace search-and-rescue vessels and other key assets
  • Operational subsidies for MSAR units, to cover training, fuel, insurance, protective clothing and equipment
  • The continuation of a small centralised team to drive reform and build volunteer capability, which will sit within Emergency Management Victoria.

The Labor Government outlined a suite of reforms to marine-rescue services in 2016, in response to a Parliamentary Inquiry into the sector.

There are almost 800 MSAR volunteers in Victoria, who donate their time to respond to marine emergencies and raise community awareness about marine safety.

These volunteers respond to about 1300 marine incidents every year.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino

“This is a record investment in our Marine Search and Rescue volunteers.”

“This boost will provide our volunteers with the vessels and equipment they need to keep Victorians safe on the water, as well as subsidising key operational costs, including fuel costs.”

“We have always said we would reform the sector and build volunteer capability, and today’s announcement is a significant step forward.”