On Nov 21, 2020

Marine Rescue NSW AGM

The Marine Rescue NSW 2020 Board elections have resulted in an unchanged line-up in the organisation’s strategic leadership.

Elections were this year due to be held for the positions of Greater Sydney, Illawarra and Monaro Regional Directors and a General Director.

As only one nomination was received for each of the Regional positions, the incumbent Directors Ken Edwards (Greater Sydney), Keven Marshall (Illawarra) and Glenn Felkin (Monaro) were elected unopposed for the coming two years.

Two nominations were received for the General Director’s position, with Pat Fayers returned for a three-year term. The other candidate was former MR Ballina Deputy Unit Commander Phil Causley.

With Regular and Life Members in all six regions eligible to participate, a total of 289 votes was cast in the eleventh Board elections, which were the third conducted online. This has proven a successful initiative in terms of volunteer convenience and reducing costs and our environmental footprint.

Today’s AGM was held at State Headquarters and also via Zoom. It was the first to be live streamed on YouTube in a measure that supported the organisation’s COVID-19 social distancing requirements and encouraged greater volunteer engagement.   

Chair Jim Glissan – attending via Zoom, along with Directors Ken Edwards and Darcy Henriksen – said this was “an unusual AGM in the most unusual year any of us have ever experienced”.

He congratulated all four Directors on their re-election.

“It is pleasing that, so far as the Regional Directors are concerned, only one nomination was received for each. It shows the confidence the organisation has in the Directors,” he said.

“It is troubling that only one was received, equally. We need to have an investment in the Board, in the company, not just by people turning up to do their radio, boat or fundraising duties. We want people to be invested in the full operation of the company.

“That said, I’m delighted to have the Board we have.”

Mr Glissan said this had been “the year of the bushfire, COVID and Zoom”.

“Our volunteers have been just extraordinary throughout the course of this year. I have incredible respect for each and every one of them and I am extraordinarily proud to be associated with this organisation.”

He commended the volunteers for their efforts on the water and providing communications and support services for other agencies during the bushfire crisis and maintaining their essential services despite the challenges of COVID.

Mr Glissan welcomed new Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell and thanked Commissioner Stacey Tannos, Chief Financial Officer Todd Andrews and staff for their work and commitment to the organisation while mostly working from home.

Deputy Commissioner Barrell addressed the meeting on behalf of Commissioner Tannos, who was attending a family member’s wedding.

He said the highlight of his first five weeks with the organisation had been getting out to a number of units and meeting their members and he looked forward to getting out and about with the membership in coming weeks and months.

“I’m really excited by the opportunity. I feel enormously privileged by what’s been given to me,” he said.

“It certainly has been a challenging year. I thank all the members for the commitment and effort they’ve shown over the last year. They’ve gone above and beyond and been adaptable and agile in a changing environment.

“Despite the challenges, we have continued to serve the boating community of NSW extremely well.”

Returning Officer for the Board elections, MR Botany Port Hacking Unit Commander Noel Parkinson (seated) and Assistant Returning Officer Allan Russell.

Mr Barrell said with 25 fatalities on the state’s waterways last financial year, he had never seen such a strong focus on boating safety as at present.

“We have so much to offer to the safety discussion,” he said.

He said MRNSW crews had conducted 2,541 rescue missions, including 778 in life-endangering emergencies, bringing almost 600 boaters safely to shore, and managed almost a quarter of a million radio transmissions – “that’s a monster effort to have that coverage along the coastline” – in 2019-20.

“No other emergency service has the capability to do what we do,” he said.

Mr Barrell said the State Government’s $37.6 million investment in MRNSW from July 1, 2019, had enabled the organisation to deliver 10 new boats last year, representing a massive increase in capability and safety for crews, with 11 more completed or under way and others to follow.

“It’s clear this is going to be a very busy summer on the state’s waterways as everyone holidays at home. If we have good weather the numbers on the waterways are going to mean our volunteers are really busy,” he said.

Auditor James Winter said the company had received an unqualified audit report and commended the improvements to the financial and accounting systems driven by the leadership.

He said the additional government revenue was going straight to where it was meant to: into bases, vessels, communications and other resources.

The Board subsequently re-elected Mr Glissan as its Chair following the AGM.

A recording of the AGM is available to view on YouTube here

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