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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Page: 137

Ms GAMBARO (Parliamentary SecretaryForeign Affairs) (11:32 AM) —I am delighted to speak today about the wonderful work that the coastal patrol and coastguard do in Redcliffe. I had the great joy to visit them recently to announce a Regional Partnerships grant to them of $59,000. The Australian Volunteer Coastguard, which is QF3 down there, has been given the funds to construct a vessel and trailer as well as to fit out a vessel with outboard motor, safety equipment cables, VHF and other instruments. This is a terrific program, but more terrific is the fantastic volunteer work. There are some 105 volunteers who man the coastguard 24 hours a day. I want to put on the record my appreciation of the wonderful work that they do—and also the 660 members of the coastguard and the boaties who use this fantastic service down at the Redcliffe Peninsula.

This is a fantastic leap forward. The funding will enable them to get a rescue vessel that will be able to handle more water emergencies. It will also improve their response time and help educate boat users. Some 1.2 million tourists visit the Redcliffe Peninsula every year. They are drawn to the peninsula because of its wonderful coastline, and many of them have a great interest in boating. So it is fantastic to have this particular funding going to this wonderful organisation.

I want to put on the record my appreciation for Caroline Gould, the grants officer there; Malcolm Olding, the flotilla commander; Roy King, who is the longest-serving skipper in the coastguard, having served for some 33 years; Neil Macfarlane, their administration officer; and Paul Baldwin, their publicity officer. This work could not have been achieved without the fantastic work of the Moreton Bay Coast and Country Area Consultative Committee, which brought this to fruition. I would like to acknowledge Estella Rodighiero for her fantastic work. A number of local companies also got behind the program. I would like to place on the record great appreciation for the Redcliffe City Council contribution of $15,000 and also for the great assistance by the Redcliffe City Rotary Club, Neilsen’s Electricals, Freight Plus, AVG Powder Coating, Hydrofield Boats and Sundown Marine.

These partnerships are exactly that—they are partnerships between the community, councils and also businesses in the area, and they have been a great success. The Australian government has contributed some $270 million under the Regional Partnerships program from 2006 to 2010. It is fantastic that local organisations such as the coastguard are able to continue the wonderful work that they do and have the support out there. They are working hand in hand with the Moreton Bay coast and country committee.

The Moreton Bay coast and country committee have done a magnificent job for the whole of the area that they represent, and they represent some four councils. We do have a wonderful lifestyle on the Redcliffe Peninsula. We have a number of recreational fishing vessels there and we have commercial fishermen who go out as well. They know that they have a reliable service that will provide fantastic search and rescue but also that the coastguard have continual training programs in areas such as first aid and also in terms of providing training for their staff in search and rescue. They are a very dedicated bunch. I delight in visiting them regularly, and I wish them well in their future endeavours. I look forward to the day when they invite me to officially launch this vessel—and that will be some time in the new year. I place on the record today my wonderful appreciation of the coastguard down at Redcliffe and wish them well in their future endeavours.