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Monday, 22 September 2008
Page: 8179

Ms RISHWORTH (9:55 PM) —I rise tonight to pay tribute to the many surf lifesavers that patrol beaches around the country. I am very lucky in my electorate of Kingston because it has more than 30 kilometres of beaches. They are beautiful beaches but they would not be safe without the many surf lifesavers who patrol them. In fact, I have five clubs in my electorate and they all do a fabulous job in making sure that the beaches are very safe.

The surf lifesaving movement has had a very long history. It started in 1901, so it is probably one of the longest-serving volunteer organisations in our country. The job that surf lifesavers did very early on was different from the job that they do today, but no less important. Early on they used a lot of different types of equipment to save people, including the reel whereby someone would stand on one end of the reel, and then reel in the person in the water. Obviously, things have changed significantly since then. Very high-tech equipment is needed now and, as a result, the clubs need a lot of support from their local communities.

I have had a very close relationship with the surf lifesaving movement. I joined the surf lifesaving movement when I was 11 years of age. I was given the choice of playing a number of sports and I chose surf lifesaving. I have had a good and long association with the Seacliff Surf Life Saving Club. I learnt many things from that experience, including first aid and also rescue and resuscitation. But the most valuable thing that I learnt from being involved in surf lifesaving at such a young age was the importance of volunteering. That is an absolutely fundamental thing about the surf lifesaving movement. It has hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who go out every Saturday and Sunday to sit on our beaches to make sure that people are safe. I think that is key to the movement. These people work tirelessly. In the new club that I am joining, the Christies Beach Surf Life Saving Club, people give up between 20, 30, 40 and 50 hours of their time to run this volunteer organisation to the best of their ability. They are very professional people.

I would like to pay particular attention to the South Australian organisation of the surf lifesaving movement. They recognise that the many migrants from around the world who are moving to South Australia perhaps did not have beaches in their country of origin. The organisation is looking at ways to educate some of these migrants on beach safety. This is incredibly important because we are seeing an increase in the number of migrants getting into trouble; they do not understand things such as rips and tides, which are very prevalent in South Australian waters. People in the surf lifesaving movement in South Australia have taken it upon themselves to start educating these people about water safety. They have their new ‘stay safe this summer’ campaign, which has the acronym FLAGS: F for find the flags and make sure you swim between them; L is to look for the safety signs; A is for ask a surf lifesaver for some good advice; G is for get a friend to swim with you; and S is for stick your hand up for help. They also make sure that the message gets across: ‘Never swim in unpatrolled beaches. Never swim at night. Never swim under the influence of alcohol. Never run and dive into water. Never swim directly after a meal.’ The surf lifesaving group work tirelessly to get these messages out to people.

I am very pleased that the Rudd government has recognised surf lifesaving clubs and that it is assisting them in becoming more water wise. During the election, we made a commitment to deliver water tanks to the surf lifesaving clubs around the country, and we are delivering on that commitment. That will provide significant support for the clubs in conserving water at a local level. I know that that has been welcomed by my five surf lifesaving clubs. They want to become very ecowise. They want to look at not only water tanks but also solar panels and any other ways that they can contribute. They know more than anyone how important our local coastal community is. Tonight, I just wanted to recognise the great work that they do on our beaches in saving lives. (Time expired)

The SPEAKER —Order! It being 10 pm, the debate is interrupted.