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Surf Life Saving Clubs get funding boost

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Summer safety campaign kicks in $5000 to Australia’s Surf Life Saving Clubs to improve safety equipment and prevent drownings this summer, Minister for Sport Sussan Ley says in an announcement today.

At Sydney’s Coogee Beach Ley launched the Beach Safety Equipment Fund which will provide $8m over 5 years to the Australia’s 311 surf lifesaving clubs.

“Under this Fund about $25,000 over 5 years is being provided to every Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) club, so they can purchase essential rescue equipment, first aid and medical supplies,” says Ley.

“Here in Coogee, they will be using this year’s allocation to buy and update Personal Protective Equipment including life jackets and helmets, first aid kits and other rescue and lifesaving equipment.

She says clubs will also be purchasing defibrilators, rescue tubes and two-way radios which will help life savers perform the “amazing work” they do every swimming season.

“Today’s event is also a chance for me to remind beach goers on the importance of swimming between the flags – by far the safest option to enjoy a seaside swim – yet figures indicate just 45% of people swim at patrolled beaches during patrol hours.

“A recent National Coastal Safety Report found 4-in-10 coastal drowning deaths occurred more than five kilometres from a surf lifesaving club, and that three-quarters of people quizzed could not identify a hazardous rip current.

“While we still have a way to go to reduce drowning deaths, I’m pleased to see the gear purchased through this Beach Safety Equipment programme helps save lives.

“The Australian Water Safety Council has an aspirational goal to reduce drowning deaths by 50% t by the year 2020; it’s something the government supports and I believe everyone can do their bit.”

The Beach Safety Equipment Fund is in addition to annual Government funding of around $8.5m to support water safety in Australia, which is being provided to the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, SLSA, AUSTSWIM and Laurie Lawrence Swimming Enterprises.

Additional information on Commonwealth funding for water safety is available at the Department of Health’s website.

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