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Lifeline extended to VMR during record-breaking year

By Ray White Whitsunday

THE Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday has been thrown a lifeline of its own that would help it continue the crucial work and deliver a three-fold expansion to its facilities.

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander today announced a $400,000 commitment to the VMR Whitsunday for upgrades and improvements, which hinges on the Liberals securing the majority in the upcoming election.

The funding would go toward increasing the size of the VMR headquarters on Altmann Ave, which was described by VMR president Mal Priday as “the cupboard”.

The space would be expanded to three times its current size and new technology would also be installed to help make the Whitsunday boating community safer.

VMR secretary Roger Woodson and president Mal Priday in the organisation’s headquarters.

Mr Priday said he was “blown away” by the commitment.

The volunteer organisation costs about $250,000 to run every year but receives only $22,000 in government funding.

To continue the crucial work, members must fundraise and seek support from local businesses, which has become difficult throughout COVID-19 restrictions.

This year is also proving to be a record year for the VMR with 92 completed activations so far compared to 77 in 2019, making it the sixth busiest squadron in Queensland.

VMR secretary Roger Woodson and president Mal Priday said government assistance would ease the pressure on the organisation to fundraise.

Mr Priday said the LNP commitment would go a long way in ensuring the organisation could continue operating despite the tough economic climate.

“We are the marina safety net for the boating and island communities in the Whitsundays and it’s imperative that we keep going,” he said.

“I shudder to think what would happen if we weren’t here.

“Last year we did 41 medevacs, last month we did seven, it’s just getting busier and busier and busier.”

This is the first election commitment the LNP candidate for Whitsunday Amanda Camm who said she was proud to support the volunteers.

“It’s about search and rescue capacity for the entire Whitsunday community, and most importantly it’s to ensure that the volunteers have the necessary equipment and facilities to do the job that they do each and every day,” she said.

“We want our fishermen and our boaties and our tourism industry to know when you’re out on the water that there is a response that you can call out for if you need help and get into trouble.”

Mr Mander said the LNP would be making other VMR announcements in the lead up to the election.

Source: Whitsunday Times

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