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.’