NSW Boaters have voted overwhelmingly in favour of providing ongoing support to volunteer organisation, Marine Rescue NSW.
Minister for Ports and Waterways, Paul McLeay today announced the boating community had committed to a financial contribution of $7.50 from boating licences and registrations.
“I’m pleased to see the boating community getting behind the initiative. We had 2150 responses to the discussion paper proposal with 79% of responses supporting the contribution.
“The boating community recognises the valuable work of Marine Rescue NSW in assisting more than 2500 people in trouble each year.
“Each individual contribution from boating licences and registrations adds up to $5 million a year extra, which will all go directly to the volunteer organisation.
“This is on top of the existing funding of $1.4 million the Keneally Government has committed to providing. The contribution from boaters will provide Marine Rescue NSW with total funding of $6.4 million a year.
Mr McLeay said boater numbers are expected to double to around 900,000 in 25 years.
“This additional funding is a positive step in securing the organisation’s future and ensuring they continue to keep our coastal waters safe.
“NSW Maritime is committed to ensuring that 100 per cent of the Marine Rescue NSW contribution is provided directly to the volunteer organisation, and there will be annual accountability for all funds spent.
“Marine Rescue NSW units will also need to fund 50 per cent of their operational and capital funding through local fundraising to ensure the volunteer spirit is retained.”
The Marine Rescue NSW funding contribution will start from September 2010, and is set at $7.50 for both boat licences and registrations, or $3 for concession holders.
• Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer organisation with more than 2300 members trained to respond to calls for assistance by boaters in trouble.
• They support and conduct search and rescue operations, provide marine VHF radio monitoring, assist with water traffic control in major aquatic events and carry out boating training and education.
• 2150 responses to the discussion paper proposal were received. 79% of responses supported the contribution. 13% proposing various alternative funding models. 8% of submissions, or 166, were opposed to the concept of funding the volunteers.
• The contribution will see the annual boat drivers licence go from $43 to $50.50 and an increase to annual registration fees on a typical 5.5 metre runabout increase from $92 to $99.50.
In response to issues raised in submission a binding memorandum of understanding and funding agreement will be developed with Marine Rescue NSW, which will ensure:
• Levels of funding for the Marine Rescue Commissioner’s office from licence generated revenue will not grow over time.
• Consultation with key stakeholder groups including the Boating Industry Association and the Boat Owners Association over priorities for expenditure.
• Agreed performance targets, including new membership drives.
• Service delivery commitments for inland locations.
• Partnerships with land based rescue agencies for training and other service delivery support.
• Production of an annual financial report with detailed reporting on expenditure.
Details are available at www.maritime.nsw.gov.au