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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3484


Mrs McNAMARA (Dobell) (12:34): Volunteers are the glue that binds our community. Volunteers give up countless hours of their time to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes for our community. The 2001 census found that in Wyong Shire 14 per cent of people participated in some form of voluntary work. This equates to over 16,000 men and women who give their time back to the Wyong community.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the particular contribution of two voluntary organisations in Dobell, Marine Rescue Tuggerah Lakes and Marine Rescue Norah Head. We are blessed in Dobell to have the beautiful Tuggerah Lakes and a coastline of scenic beaches that are the drawcard for tens of thousands of tourists each year. The natural beauty of our beaches and lakes can, however, be deceiving, giving way to dangerous conditions. Unfortunately, people can find themselves underprepared or unaware of the difficult conditions that may be present.

When people find themselves in peril they can rely on the hardworking, dedicated volunteers of our Marine Rescue bases to provide assistance. Marine Rescue New South Wales is the state's official volunteer marine rescue service. Their members are committed to saving lives on our waterways and provide a number of vital safety services to the New South Wales boating community, including swift, coordinated marine emergency response; search and recovery; boating safety education and a marine licence course for local boaters; and continuous radio coverage along the coastline. Across New South Wales there are more than 3,000 Marine Rescue members based in 46 locations. On call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the two Marine Rescue bases located in Dobell do a tremendous job in providing protection on our waterways as well as providing educational services to our community.

I recently had the honour of joining the crew from Marine Rescue Tuggerah Lakes, accompanying them on a tour of the lake and observing their daily activities and procedures. Marine Rescue Tuggerah Lakes was formed in February of this year, following a vote of members from Marine Rescue The Entrance and Marine Rescue Toukley to amalgamate both organisations. The 80 member strong Marine Rescue Tuggerah Lakes unit will service Tuggerah and Budgewoi lakes, which form part of the largest and most popular of the Central Coast waterways. Marine Rescue Tuggerah Lakes will operate out of two bases located three kilometres apart on the water at The Entrance North and Toukley. Together the bases work in unison to provide stronger operations, with more efficient use of resources that will ensure that volunteers have safe and timely access to the lakes in order to respond to people in distress. My experience with the crew on Tuggerah Lakes allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation of the challenges faced by our Marine Rescue volunteers. I would like to thank Denis, Clem, Peter and the crew at Marine Rescue Tuggerah Lakes for providing me with this great opportunity.

The second Marine Rescue base in Dobell is located at Norah Head. The Norah Head Lighthouse acts as a constant reminder of the dangerous conditions seafarers encounter off Dobell's coastline. The volunteers based at Norah Head often brave dangerous conditions to assist those who have encountered difficulties off our coast as well as conducting search and recovery operations. Prior to the 2013 federal election I was privileged to accompany the crew at Marine Rescue Norah Head at sea and experience the challenging conditions the crew face on a daily basis when conducting their operations.

In addition to their operations on Tuggerah Lakes and at sea, our Marine Rescue bases also provide a number of services to our local community. Marine Rescue Norah Head helps coordinate the annual merchant mariners' memorial service, which I have previously spoken about in the parliament. The base also provides assistance for sporting events that take place on the ocean to ensure the safety and wellbeing of competitors. Marine Rescue Tuggerah Lakes are responsible for positioning the fireworks display on Tuggerah Lakes, a highlight of our local New Year's Eve and Australia Day celebrations. These activities clearly demonstrate the benefits our community receive from the hard work of our local Marine Rescue crews, who often put their own lives at risk to save others. I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers involved in our local Marine Rescue bases for their tireless work in keeping our lakes and oceans safe. Their work is a great example of how communities are enriched through the work of local volunteers. I wish them a very safe current season as well.