Monday, June 24, 2024

$27m to be sunk into new Marine Rescue Queensland

The Queensland Government has pledged $27 million for the state’s new Marine Rescue Queensland (MRQ) body.

MRQ will bring together the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association (AVCGA) and Volunteer Marine Rescue Association Queensland (VMRAQ) marine rescue units from across Queensland into an integrated volunteer marine rescue service.

The funding allocation includes more than $20 million to directly support frontline volunteers with equipment, supplies and rescue resources.

“Our marine rescue volunteers do a fantastic job keeping Queenslanders and visitors safe on and in Queensland’s beautiful oceans and marine waterways,” said Premier, Steven Miles.

“My first Budget as Premier, includes significant investment in Marine Rescue Queensland, a real reflection of the valuable contribution of volunteer marine services and my government’s commitment to support those who keep Queenslanders safe.”

On 3 June, MRQ was established as an entity under the QPS with its own budget, legislation and Chief Officer. 

The transition of bringing marine volunteer units to MRQ will now begin in a phased approach from July 2024 and continue onboarding units for the next 12 to 18 months.

The reforms to establish the dedicated MRQ stem from a series of independent reviews into service sustainability. 

“A more sustainable service will provide a more responsive service for Queenslanders,” said Deputy Premier, Cameron Dick.

“This budget provides dedicated funding for frontline support, resources, vessels and equipment and MRQ will work with volunteers to create greater consistency of service across the state.

“Queensland volunteers are champions of our state, and the Miles Government’s first budget is funding a model that will better support them in keeping people safe on the water.”

Queensland marine rescue volunteers currently undertake approximately 4,000 activations operating across 46 units throughout the state each year and the new service will enhance support at local and regional levels as well as improve protections for volunteers. 

“For generations volunteers from the AVCGA and VMRAQ have supported their local communities, responding to disasters, and providing emergency lifesaving services to help people who need help,” said Police Minister, Mark Ryan.

“MRQ will unite our marine rescue services and uplift the capabilities for our staff, our volunteers and the community, well into the future.

“As we progressively roll-out MRQ, community safety and continuity of services are paramount. We support AVCGA and VMRAQ to continue to fund and deliver services as we transition units across the state.”

MRQ Chief Officer, Tony Wulff said volunteers were the lifeblood of marine rescue in Queensland and they will be the backbone of Marine Rescue Queensland too.

“This budget will enable us to build a service which supports, celebrates and champions the lifesaving work of our volunteers,” he said.

“It will also help fund much needed equipment and supplies and support delivery of broader community education and water safety programs.” 

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