No danger in rescue restructure

POINT Danger Volunteer Marine Rescue was praised as one of the best units in New South Wales by Ports and Waterways Minister Joe Tripodi when he visited the Tweed on Friday.

He spent hours talking to the unit's management committee about the formation of NSW Marine Rescue.

The new organisation, which was announced in November last year, will merge the state's three existing volunteer marine rescue organisations.

Point Danger VMR President Bernie Gabriel said he was happy Mr Tripodi had said they were one of the best, and the group had no major concerns with the plan.

“He came up to talk to us about the plan and clarify how it was going to work and make sure we didn't have any worries or fears about what would happen,” Mr Gabriel said.

If the new organisation is set up as the plan had been presented, Mr Gabriel said the Point Danger VMR base was happy, and they only had some concerns about small “fine print” issues.

“It is okay, we feel we will fit into it quite nicely,” Mr Gabriel said.

In November, Mr Tripodi said the NSW Marine Rescue plan, which was a recommendation of the Price Report, had the support of more than 90 per cent of volunteer rescue units.

“NSW currently has three voluntary marine rescue organisations, with an assortment of vessels, operational bases and hundreds of wonderful volunteers,” Mr Tripodi said.

“The Price Report considered their structures, adequacy and sustainability and recommended the establishment of a new rescue group, with membership to be invited from the existing three volunteer organisations.”

In the two-year transition period the government would provide $3 million towards establishing the new organisation and would also maintain NSW Maritime's annual funding of $1.35 million during the transition, Mr Tripodi said.

While he was on the Tweed, the minister also announced a $57,850 grant for the reconstruction of the car and trailer parking at Chinderah boat ramp.

“This project involves work on the car and trailer park to provide ease of access for boaters and the community,” Mr Tripodi said.

“This grant is about planning for the future and making sure the community has safe access to facilities which help them get out and about on our waterways.”

He said the Government grant is part of a $3.55 million package to encourage the construction and upgrade of boating facilities across the state.

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