MARINE RESCUE SERVICE: Graham Kingston from VMR at Port Bundaberg.
MARINE RESCUE SERVICE: Graham Kingston from VMR at Port Bundaberg. Paul Donaldson BUN190617TOW7

Marine rescue organisations review welcomed

A REVIEW into Queensland's marine rescue organisations has been welcomed by Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg.

Marine Rescue Queensland president Graham Kingston said he looked forward to the review and results, headed by Campbell Darby DSC AM.

"We welcome the review and look forward to being active participants in the review and hope it will enable us (VMR) to continue to service the marine rescue community in the future,” Mr Kingston said.

"It has been a long time coming and we believe the future of volunteer marine rescue in both Queensland and Bundaberg is in peril because of fund sustainability.”

Mr Kingston said funding was a major issue facing VMR Bundaberg and their current insurance excess of $100,000 was not viable.

"Our insurance excess is $100,000 per event - and because of Cyclone Debbie and the number of claims associated with that, our excess has gone from $1000 to $100,000,” he said.

"We hope the review has a very good look at the risk it poses to the sustainability to Marine Rescue Service and we hope they find a sustainable outcome.

"It comes down to funding and we need funding to contribute to vessels.

"Our newest vessel was $550,000 for the vessel itself and $56,000 for modifications and we received $160,000 from the State Government.”

Mr Kingston said he felt the review would bring greater awareness of the work volunteer marine rescue volunteers did.

"In 2017-18 our radio log-on service had over 26,633 people use that service and over 12 months we had 91 people returned to safety,” he said.

"We do our work out at sea and there is not the same type of profile and respect that other emergency services get.

"We do believe the profile of the marine rescue industry, both the coast guard and VMR, needs to be elevated to a higher level of support.”



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