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Monday, 19 September 2011
Page: 10701

Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (20:37): It gives me great pleasure to rise tonight to support the motion put forward by the honourable member who has just spoken, the member for Bass. Can I also commend the member for Bass for the fact that he has helped to resuscitate seven people in his service as a lifesaver. That is truly commendable. I think all of us here acknowledge what a fantastic effort that is.

Mr Lyons: And lost one.

Mr TEHAN: The member for Bass has just interrupted to say that in that process he lost one person. I think that also shows the true impact of this work and how great and important it is, because it is serious business and people can lose their lives. I think that actually makes what the member for Bass has done all the more commendable, because that could not have been an easy process for him. I once again acknowledge the significant role that he has played as a surf-lifesaver.

It gives me great pleasure, as I said earlier, to stand in support of this motion. Early last year, one of the first things I did as the member for Wannon was to have the Leader of the Opposition come down to my electorate. It was fantastic, because I was able to take the Leader of the Opposition to one of my Surf Life Saving clubs, the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club. This club has been in operation since roughly 1924 and it has been doing fantastic work since then.

The club welcomed the Leader of the Opposition with open arms. It was very much a bipartisan event. There was a bit of a sausage sizzle, and then the Leader of the Opposition went out on a surf boat—out over the waves. I must say that I do not think he had been in one of those boats for about 10 years, but he sat in it and went over the waves like he had been doing it all of his life. I think the rest of us probably would have found it quite an exhausting process but he managed to do it without really taking a breath. It was a fantastic day, and it really hit home to me the important role that surf-lifesavers play. I would like to support the member for Bass in encouraging people in Australia to get involved with their Surf Life Saving club, because the Port Fairy club, for one, has a workload that is falling on fewer and fewer people. They need new members and they need younger members because they are getting to the stage where they are beginning to wonder whether they can patrol that beach for the whole of the summer. I think this is an excellent motion that the member has brought forward. I would once again encourage every Australian to think about joining the local Surf Life Saving club. It is absolutely important work that is done. We have to make sure that like every volunteer organisation the workload is not left for a diminishing few. We especially need to encourage the younger generations—and I take that as my generation and those below—to make sure they continue to get involved with community organisations because it is absolutely vital work that they do.

In my electorate we also have a Surf Life Saving club in Warrnambool. I was very privileged to go there and help open a new room they have just built at the Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club. It has been in operation since 1930. They do terrific work there as well. It is a fantastic club. It has terrific facilities and it is a fantastic beach. As a matter of fact, it is such a terrific beach because not only can people swim at it but they still take the local horses there to train them. It is a terrific multiuse of the beach. It has led to Warrnambool now being one of the best training facilities in Victoria.

Port Campbell also has a terrific Surf Life Saving club and they do terrific work there. Once again, it has got one of the best views, as most Surf Life Saving clubs do, of the coastal area and the magnificent coastal area that goes along the southern border of my fantastic electorate.

In summary, I once again reiterate what the member for Bass has said. Surf-lifesaving is a great volunteer activity. We need to encourage more and more people to get involved. As summer approaches, if we could all take a step back and think, 'Do we have the time?' and, if we can, get involved with surf-lifesaving.