Skip to main content

Beachgoers will be safer across the 2000km of NSW coastline, thanks to a major funding increase for Surf Life Saving NSW from the State Government.​

The major announcement was made at Cronulla Beach today, where Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant met with SLSNSW Officials and volunteer surf lifesavers.

The $16 million will be provided to the iconic state organisation over four years and will fund Branch support operations, inclusive of response vehicles and jetskis, rescue technology, emergency response beacons and Branch services. All of which are vital to for SLSNSW to improve beach safety and reduce coastal drowning deaths.

SLSNSW President David Murray said the funding is a welcomed and well-timed injection for the129 NSW clubs and 11 branches that have performed over 1,800 rescues since 1 December 2018.

“The funds will go directly towards lifesaving equipment and technology, support and infrastructure that will give our volunteer surf lifesavers increased confidence and capability to fulfil their duties during patrol times and outside our red and yellow flags,” Murray said.

SLSNSW CEO Steven Pearce recognised the significance of the contribution on behalf of the biggest surf lifesaving operation in Australia.

“Our 75,000 volunteer lifesavers play a critical role in the community as emergency first responders and guardians of the red and yellow flags. It is fantastic that the State Government recognise their tireless work and development in this way.”

“SLSNSW’s volunteers and staff do an amazing job keeping our beaches safe and this latest increase to their funding will enable them to save more lives,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

“We have invested heavily to ensure that Surf Life Saving NSW and our volunteers have got all the tools and technology they need to do their jobs.” 

Mr Grant said, “Our lifesavers do an outstanding job across our coastline each year, and the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has been a very proud supporter of their efforts.” 

“This funding would strengthen that support, and lead to new staff to support clubs and volunteers across a number of areas including East Ballina, Warriewood, Nowra, Tathra and Tighes Hill in the Hunter region.” 

Mr Grant said the investment announced today will also enable Surf Life Saving to deliver greater additional services beyond the red and yellow flags. 

“As part of the package, 10 new Emergency Response Beacons (ERBs) will be installed at coastal black spots to better protect swimmers,” Mr Grant said. 

Mr. Pearce continued in saying that technological advancements will be rolled out at key locations through NSW, “This will include the ERB’s, continued Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations and Wi-Fi technology that will enable key beach locations to push critical water safety messaging to beach visitors. 

“We will have more jet skis in the water, more emergency vehicles on the land, and more training for staff all equals better outcomes for coastal communities, and ultimately more lives saved.

“For the first time ever, key support staff will be employed in volunteer Branch offices. Staff will also be employed to focus on the delivery of water safety awareness and education programs to identified at risk groups in the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and school networks. 

“A significant Coastal Public Safety Risk Assessment project will be conducted across the entire NSW coastline over the next three years to identify areas of highest risk and vulnerability. It will result in corresponding risk management solutions to reduce the drowning fatality statistics.”

Today’s investment comes on top of strong support for Surf Life Saving NSW and water safety initiatives: 

Over the 3 years from 2016/17, the NSW Government has committed more than $9 million in water safety funding including:  

  • $4 million over three years to enhance rescue capabilities, $220,000 of which ensured all Surf Life Saving branches had a new jet ski;  

  • $1.7 million annually to provide essential lifesaving services; and,   

  • $202,000 over three years for a pilot program to install emergency markers at key risk areas along the NSW coastline. 

  • $4 million to upgrade and build new Surf Life Saving Clubs – a doubling of the previous funding. 

  • Investments in new technology, such as drones, to assist lifeguards and prevent drownings. 


Monday 21 January 2019