The NSW Government has announced $4 million in funding for Surf Life Saving clubs across the state, including a combined $324,263 for clubs in Batemans Bay, Tathra and Bermagui.
Batemans Bay SLSC will receive a grant of $97,500 for an upgrade to its patrol room and call-out capability, while Tathra SLSC will refurbish its clubhouse amenities and patrol room thanks to a $179,015 grant. Bermagui SLSC will enhance its communication and evacuation facilities with a grant of $47,748.
The grants are part of the government’s Surf Club Facility Program, which provides funding for upgrading, restoring or constructing Surf Life Saving facilities. This year, the program has prioritised bushfire and drought-affected areas for grants. Overall, 26 clubs in NSW received funding as part of the $4 million funding total.
Surf Life Saving NSW’s Far South Coast branch director of lifesaving, Cheryl McCarthy, said the branch is grateful for the support of the NSW Government and that the clubs and their members had endured a challenging season in response to the bushfires.
“The new funding will put us in a strong position to build resilience and future capability,” she said.
“We learned a lot during the summer bushfires and the funding will go a long way to strengthening our support of the Far South Coast community in the future.”
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce also welcomed the grants and said they reflect the growing importance of Surf Life Saving clubs in the community, and ensure rescue facilities remain ready, safe, accessible and secure.
“The role of Surf Life Saving clubs in the community is evolving quickly,” he said.
“Our reach now extends well beyond the water. During the recent bushfires that devastated much of NSW, thousands of people sought shelter in our clubs, and in many areas our clubs became important recovery centres in the weeks following the fires.”
NSW Acting Sport Minister Dr Geoff Lee made the funding announcement at Coffs Harbour SLSC. He said surf club volunteers provided refuge to thousands of people evacuated during the bushfires, and the images of courage and selflessness epitomises the Australian spirit.
“These men and women always put their bodies on the line to save us from danger, and this funding is essential to keep their facilities updated for future generations,” he said.