Marine Rescue opens new $1.8m HQ
13th November 2020
Source: Newcastle Herald | By: Max McKinney | Posted: November 13, 2020
Emergency Services Minister David Elliott is tipping Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie will have a busy summer with an expected influx of holidaymakers, but he is confident the unit is well equipped after opening its $1.8 million radio base at Swansea Heads on Friday.
Mr Elliott joined state MPs Yasmin Catley and Greg Piper at the scenic headland site yesterday to unveil the Search and Rescue Coordination Centre in front of about 50 officials and guests.
The minister said the base had been funded as part of a "record $37 million investment into Marine Rescue", which formed part of "a broader record investment into emergency services".
"When you consider the burden that has been placed on our emergency services, both salaried and volunteer over the course of the last 18 months, this money has probably never been more welcomed, deserved and indeed needed," he said.
"We are seeing a reputation amongst our emergency services personnel as being the modern Anzacs, and that's probably what we are going to reflect on after this tumultuous period of Australian history is over.
"We've seen this perpetual reliance on our emergency services and of course, Marine Rescue has not been immune from the needs and demands of service."
The Lake Macquarie unit is one of the state's busiest and Mr Elliott praised the work of its members, describing them as the "modern guardians of Lake Macquarie".
"I'm hoping you will have a quiet summer, but I'm pretty confident that you will actually have a busy one because of the amount of people who are holidaying at home this year," he said.
"But having said that, I can certainly go back to Macquarie Street knowing full well that we've provided everything we possibly can to ensure you do your job with as much ease as possible."
The two-storey base, built by Cowyn Building Group, took four months to construct and was completed six weeks ahead of schedule.
It replaced an outdated and makeshift building that had been in use for decades.
Unit commander Malcolm Druce said the new facility would ensure "the future of Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie".
"Our future is within the walls of this fantastic search and coordination centre," he said.
"Our base not only provides a state-of-the-art radio room to monitor and manage transmissions to and from vessels on the water, but it allows our unit to meet and train in our own facility for the first time in the unit's history.
"This is a significant opportunity for us.
"This base also allows us to earn our place at the table with other local emergency services organisations through the provision of these facilities to manage maritime search and rescue operations in our region."
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