Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 14 August 2003
Page: 18625

Mr BAIRD (9:49 AM) —I rise today to make the House aware of the great work of the Elouera Surf Life Saving Club through its surf awareness clinic. I commend the immediate past president, Ian Cameron; the new president, Steve Frawley; and the rest of the team on doing such a wonderful job. The community of Cook is very much involved in surf club culture and water activities. The surf awareness clinic plays a very central role, which is most commendable. The clinic is now in its 20th year and during that time some 12,000 children between the ages of seven and 13 have attended the clinic—600 children a year. This figure is growing on an annual basis.

Children from the south-west of Sydney, many of whom have had little experience of swimming in the surf, are invited to participate in this program. What is so impressive is that this clinic shows real community spirit in the electorate which I am privileged to serve. It relies on the help of some 1,400 volunteer instructors and considerable support from the tradies club at Gymea. I thank them all for their support. The programs covered by the clinic include all facets of beach safety, ranging from swimming danger prevention—what happens if they get into a rip when swimming and are taken out to sea—to resuscitation demonstrations, cancer awareness and how to prevent skin cancer, and a police safety program, as obviously one of the dangers is that paedophiles will hang around the beaches where young people are located and this program makes them aware of that danger. We are all aware that, unfortunately, we can no longer regard the beach as the safe communal area it once was. The surf awareness clinic acts as a safe house too—much like the neighbourhood watch concept.

Those of us in the Sutherland Shire, and indeed all around Australia, who make use of our many beaches and beautiful waterways owe a great debt to these local volunteers, who are often placed in highly distressing or dangerous situations. I would like the House to recognise today the important activities of the Elouera Surf Life Saving Club. Only two years ago five young people, a number of whom had been through this surf awareness clinic and were volunteers with the club, rescued a large number of people on Boxing Day. They received special awards from the Prime Minister when he came to my electorate. This outstanding club is doing tremendous work for the community and teaching young people about safety on the beach and in the surf at Cronulla.