Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett
Boost To Helicopter Funding Means Better Service For Beachgoers
Victor P Taffa
Beachgoers will be protected for longer this summer with the State Government confirming its support for Surf Life Saving Western Australia and the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.
Marking the first day of summer, Premier Colin Barnett said recent funding would allow the Helicopter to spend more time in the air with Crew Members available for longer.
“The State Government has allocated $354,000 to the Helicopter in the 2010-11 State Budget an increase of $24,000 from last year.” Premier Barnett said.
“During the 2009-10 summer season, the Helicopter completed 300 Patrol Hours. With the increased funding, SLSWA expect to complete at least 330 Patrol Hours this season.”
Premier Barnett said the helicopter shark patrols were of particular importance during the busy school holiday period when Perth families seek relief from the heat at our pristine beaches.
“The helicopter crew spot potential dangers such as sharks and rips but also provide a pivotal search and rescue service and help manage other Medical Emergencies.” the Premier said.
“I thank the volunteers who work hard to provide this service.”
Surf Life Saving WA President Mark Irwin said the partnership was a great example of how governments and community organisations can work together.
“The State Government support helps us keep visitors to our Beaches safe.” Mr. Irwin said.
“On a typical day, our crew is required to pack up at around one o’clock in the afternoon.”
“This extra money will allow them to be available until five o’clock for any coastal emergency or incident that may arise.” Mr. Irwin said.
The Premier thanked Westpac for its ongoing support of SLSWA and the Rescue Helicopter Service.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter patrols the coastline between Mandurah and Yanchep on Weekends and Public Holidays from October 2 until December 13 where it increases to Daily Patrols until the last day of February.
Weekend and Public Holiday Patrols continue until the end of March.
Premier Barnett said the first day of summer was a good time to remind parents to remain vigilant while their children are swimming and remind all beachgoers to follow instructions given by surf lifesavers.
“While the Helicopter Patrols are an important part of SLSWA’s service, it is still crucial for Beachgoers at Patrolled Beaches to swim between the Flags.” Premier Barnett said.