VMR Forced to Struggle Under Bligh Government

17 Feb 2010 4:03 PMJann Stuckey

17 February 2010

Jann Stuckey, MP, Member for Currumbin has lashed out at the Bligh Government’s funding neglect of the Volunteer Marine Rescues throughout Queensland.

“The State Government has refused to increase funding to support these vital services over the last decade, forcing volunteers to dip in to their own pockets time and time again,” said Ms Stuckey.

“Crews of volunteers have to pay for their own travel expenses, equipment, uniforms and licences, because the State Government’s pitiful funding barely covers operating costs.

Currumbin VMR is responsible for monitoring approximately 6,000 vessels through the bar each year.

“Ongoing costs of the VMR are crippling enough, but it is the basic equipment replacements that crop up that really cause the struggle.

“Currumbin VMR is facing up to 10 life-jacket replacements this year, at a cost of $600 each.

“Every weekend you will see dedicated volunteers out in shopping centres in their own time selling raffle tickets for meat trays just to survive. There is simply no justice in this Government forcing volunteers to fund essential safety equipment themselves.

“But perhaps the greatest strain on the already stretched funds is the replacement of the VMR’s boat every 10 years.

“Currumbin VMR president Peter Saunders has informed me that the $250,000 bill for a new boat could be required in just three years.

“They need to start raising funds now for the purchase of a new boat three years down the track. Crews have to scrimp and save every penny just to make ends meet.

“It is clear that this Bligh Government does not place importance on marine safety, nor does she value the hard-working volunteers the community relies on to provide this crucial service.

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Media Contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919