TRAINING VICTORIAN SURFERS TO SAVE LIVES AT OUR BEACHES

A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will teach hundreds of Victorian surfers to save lives, making our beaches safer for everyone.

Victoria has some of the world’s best surf beaches and every year thousands of families flock to places like Torquay, Anglesea, Woolamai and Fairhaven. But every Victorian parent knows that surf beaches can be dangerous.

There were 15 deaths in Victoria’s coastal waters in 2016/17 and any death at our beaches is one too many.

Boardriders search for some of the best breaks right along our coast, and while our fantastic surf lifesavers do an amazing job they can’t be everywhere.

That’s why Labor will deliver the successful Surfers Rescue 24/7 program at all Victorian boardriders clubs over the next four years. Labor will provide $800,000 to Surfing Victoria to deliver this program.

Surfers Rescue 24/7 teaches surfers critical CPR skills, how to perform board rescues and how to apply basic first aid on the water.

Labor will also introduce a modified program into secondary schools aimed at 12-17 year old students who surf, and provide training materials so that surfers know what to do when things go wrong in the water.

Schools in Portland, Heywood, Warrnambool, Apollo Bay, Lorne, Torquay, Geelong, the Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland and the Bass Coast will be offered the program.

A large number of rescues in the open ocean are performed by surfers. This massive expansion of Surfers Rescue 24/7 will make our beaches safer, ensuring local surfers on the coast have skills necessary to save lives.

Labor will also invest an additional $200,000 for Surfing Victoria to develop and roll out a modified version of Surfers Rescue 24/7 that enables surfers to assist scuba divers in trouble, and to deliver training with scuba diving clubs across Victoria.

In contrast, the previous Liberal Government cut funding for vital emergency services.

Whether it’s protecting our paramedics, recruiting more frontline police or investing in surf rescue – only Labor will back Victoria’s first responders.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino

“Tragically this past week we have seen how dangerous our surf beaches can be – the best honour we can offer the family and friends of those who have died, is to make sure as many people as possible have the skills they need to save a life.”

“Teenagers who surf will also benefit, so they are better equipped if something goes wrong in the water.”

Quote attributable to Labor Candidate for South Barwon Darren Cheeseman

“Surfers are in the water dawn to dusk, 365 days a year and are often the first responders to emergencies at our beaches, so skilling them up in CPR and first aid just makes sense.”