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Byron Shire
February 8, 2023

Labor trumps Nats on Marine Rescue tower funding

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An artist's impression of the winning design for the new Ballina marine rescue tower by local firm Dominic Finlay Jones Architects. Photo supplied
An artist’s impression of the winning design for the new Ballina marine rescue tower by local firm Dominic Finlay Jones Architects. Photo supplied

A Labor state government would commit $1 million towards the construction of a new Marine Rescue tower for Ballina, double what the National Party has offered if returned to power.

The $1 million investment – if Labor is elected in March – together with $1 million already committed by Ballina Shire Council  and funds already raised – will fully fund the demolition of the existing tower and construction of a new tower.

Ballina Marine Rescue, which is run entirely by volunteers, services the local boating community with emergency help, marine radio communications and boating education.

The rescue team has been campaigning since 2008 for the existing structurally compromised tower to be replaced with a new tower and already raised substantial funds towards the project.

Shadow north coast minister Walt Secord was in Ballina yesterday to formally make the announcement with Ballina Labor candidate Paul Spooner.

Mr Spooner said: there been ‘a groundswell of community support for the rescue tower to be replaced with a new facility and a NSW Labor government will provide the outstanding funds needed to make it happen.’

‘This is about working in partnership with Ballina Shire Council and the community. Sadly, the Nationals have ignored the community and allowed the funding of the rescue service to slip through the cracks.  The community is tired of excuses and just wants the service funded.

Last month outgoing Ballina MP Don Page announced the Nationals would offer just $330,000 towards the $2.3 million project with an additional $200,000 loan.

‘The work of the volunteers who support our boating community deserves to be rewarded with a facility that is structurally sound and gives them a better view of the surrounding area to allow them to do their jobs more effectively.’

Mr Secord said the region has more than 700 recreational vessels as well as our professional trawlers and trappers who are using our waterways and heading out to sea.

The Ballina Marine Rescue unit carries out an average of 40 assists every year in its role as a search and rescue co-ordination station.

‘A new rescue tower means our volunteers will be better equipped to assist members of our community when they are out on the water.’

‘This is an important announcement by Labor that will improve safety for people who are out on the water.

‘Paul Spooner has been advocating tirelessly for a new marine rescue tower – and it shows that he will work with the local community to deliver results.’

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  1. Seriously…?
    That’s the best you’ve got?
    The Nats have been promising the Northern Rivers $$$ for a decade, and only recently as Don Page retires does the money tap begin to flow as, for once in a generation, the National Party Coalition with the NSW State Liberal Party is actually worried they might lose the previously safe seat of Ballina.
    After 10 years of basically NOTHING, we gets the dribbles – and just the dribbles.
    If the National Party was a serious representative, why didn’t the previous Minister of the North Coast actually provide for the North Coast in the decades he had to represent us, and the years he had while in government to fast-track the much needed funds for infrastructure that the region needs. All the while sitting quietly and saying nothing as the Minister for planning fast-track approves some of the worst, most ill-informed, and environmentally destructive developments seen in a generation. And that’s without opening up in the CSG debate. Don’t even try to go there, you’ll lose the argument and I’ll lose my cool.


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