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Thursday, 24 May 1973
Page: 2668

Mr BURY (Wentworth) - I rise to lend support to the remarks made last night by my colleagues the honourable members for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) and Warringah (Mr MacKellar) and also by my electorate neighbour, the honourable member for Phillip (Mr Riordan), concerning the Surf Life Savings Associations of Australia. As you are well aware, Sir, your predecessor in that chair when he was the honourable member for Phillip also played a great part in obtaining some financial support from the Government for these bodies. Their activities are well known. Of course, what they are doing is something which is an essential part of the Australian ethos. It is a characteristic not only of Sydney but also of Australia as a whole. As was pointed out last night the movement is well known throughout the world. There are 2 very important social applications. First of all, there is the effect on the young men who give up so much time and effort throughout the year to remain on duty and to safeguard the lives of .'hose people using our beaches. But the unfortunate thing about this is that the cost of their equipment is continually rising. Nowadays, for the purpose of saving the lives of many citizens who use the beaches life saving clubs have to buy sophisticated equipment, the cost of which goes up year by year. This is quite apart from their facilities, life saving houses and the rooms necessary for them to maintain their continuous watch.

The honourable member for Phillip recently arranged for the Minister for Tourism and Recreation (Mr Stewart) to tour the beaches in the municipality of Waverley which area my electorate also overlaps. I hope that the Minister will now be particularly familiar with this problem. There is a need for an increase in the public moneys which are made available to support these associations. The Minister for Tourism and Recreation has a great advantage in this matter because he also happens to be the Minister Assisting the Treasurer. Of course I held the office of Treasurer many years ago. The Minister Assisting the Treasurer is given a certain advantage because his hand is near the till. I hope that these remarks of mine will be passed on to the Minister and that in administering one portfolio he will not entirely forget the opportunities which his second portfolio gives him.

I see the honourable member for Phillip nods assent. There is a cost in running these life saving associations. I point out that it is not only the people in the immediate vicinity such as the business peop'e and other private donors who contribute to the movement who benefit but also the whole of Sydney benefits, because a great proportion of the 3 million people who live in Sydney use the beaches from time to time. An undue burden is being thrown not only on these young men but also upon the people who support them in raising the funds and who generally help them. I feel that the Minister should take into account that this is a service which benefits many people, on a large scale. The community, through the Commonwealth, should be called upon to give this movement adequate support. At the moment it is short of funds, lt is struggling and facing great difficulties. A great many people give up a good deal of time and energy. This is purely a public service which they render to their fe'.low citizens. I, like my colleagues in this House, feel that the movement should be supported to a greater extent, particularly as we now have a Minister whose responsibility is directed towards this aspect and who, as I say, has one hand in the till. I hope that the Commonwealth will review the claim of these bodies with a very generous eye.

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