House debates

Thursday, 8 September 2022


Robertson Electorate: Surf Lifesaving Clubs

12:39 pm

Gordon Reid (Robertson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Central Coast is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the entire country—and I would go as far as to say the planet. These beaches, rich in natural beauty, represent relaxation, fun and happy memories. I'm sure that many of the members here today in the chamber can think of a time from their childhood, or even more recently, when they have enjoyed all that our glorious beaches have to offer. Yet these very beaches, which represent so much happiness, can also become dangerous environments for visitors and swimmers, especially to those people unfamiliar with the beach or with limited knowledge of the constantly changing water conditions. I am very proud of the many surf life saving clubs across Australia, especially in my electorate of Robertson, that ensure visitors to our pristine and magnificent beaches are kept safe and out of danger.

In the Central Coast region there are approximately 15 surf life saving clubs, all with their own unique challenges and advantages. In total, there are 8,332 active members of Surf Life Saving Central Coast. I would like to particularly acknowledge Club of the Year for 2022, and my former Nippers club, Umina Beach SLSC, who were awarded this title because of their continued demonstration of excellence in governance, life saving, education, membership and surf spots. Umina SLSC were followed by Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club, who took out second place.

In the electorate of Robertson, we are home to nine of these clubs, from Umina Beach, Ocean Beach and Killcare in the south, to Macmasters Beach, Copacabana and Avoca in the middle, to North Avoca, Terrigal and, finally, Wamberal in the north. Every summer, volunteers from all nine of these surf clubs patrol, ensure safety and provide rescue operations when the call arrives. Without these brilliant and hardworking surf life saving clubs, our beaches would be very different places to be and a lot less safe for swimmers. To all our courageous and tireless surf life saving volunteers, a big thankyou from me, the people of Robertson and the people of Australia. Your service is so appreciated and never goes unnoticed.

I'm pleased to be a member of the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving and to join with parliamentary colleagues to support the efforts of surf life saving clubs and surf life savers across our great country to improve the relationship between government and these clubs.

Further, I was honoured yesterday to be given the privilege and the honour of presenting life savers from Robertson, from the Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club, with special certificates and recognition after a heroic rescue operation that occurred at the start of this year. On Saturday 15 January 2022, five- to eight-foot waves, strong currents and onshore winds made Avoca Beach hazardous. A group of four swimmers lost their footing and were swept out to sea. Surf life savers responded immediately, entering the water on rescue boards to retrieve the swimmers. A fifth patient was then seen struggling to keep their head above water and was swiftly rescued, as a further three swimmers became caught in the rip. More swimmers were rapidly being swept into danger at various locations along the beach. With each rescue board supporting up to four patients, the surf life savers worked hard to keep the patients safe and calm until the IRB could transport them back to the beach. In total 14 people were rescued by surf life savers. Without their vigilance, bravery and coordinated efforts, the outcome could have been multiple fatalities.

I thank every life saver that took part this rescue operation and commend the club on ensuring that no fatalities were recorded on this day. My thanks go to the following Avoca Beach SLSC life savers who took place in the rescue: Brett, Peter, Vincent, Paul, Andrew, Andrew, Chris, George, Stuart and Lynette. I look forward to visiting the Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club and personally thanking the hardworking and dedicated members who were not able to be recognised yesterday. Finally, in this coming summer season, remember, if you're at the beach, please swim between the red and yellow flags.