Community
On Apr 22, 2024

New facility enables community members with mobility challenges to volunteer with Marine Rescue Port Kembla

Marine Rescue Port Kembla now has a fully accessible facility at its vessel base on Foreshore Road after receiving $70,784 in NSW Government funding. The new facility provides new opportunity for community members with mobility challenges to volunteer with the organisation.

The investment, made possible through Round Five of the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund significantly improves accessibility within the unit allowing up to 30 additional volunteers to be trained as radio operators. The expansion supports the existing radio base at Hill 60 enhancing the unit’s capability to serve the Illawarra’s boating community.

Minister for the Illawarra and the South Coast, Ryan Park said volunteers at Marine Rescue Port Kembla provide a vital service to the region.

“In 2023, volunteers at the unit completed 169 search and rescue missions including 112 emergencies, safely returning 339 people to shore.

“The work these urgently needed volunteers do is incredibly important for the safety of our community and visitors 24/7.

“I’m really pleased these improvements extend the opportunity to everyone in the community to undertake this vital role,” Minister Park said.

Member for Wollongong Paul Scully said the funding represents a significant step forward in addressing accessibility barriers within the unit.

“Until now, many potential volunteers who expressed an interest in being radio operators were not able to participate due to the lack of access to the radio room at Hill 60.

“As someone who has long advocated for improved access for people with mobility challenges, I am pleased that this funding is supporting such a vital community service as well as the volunteers at the heart of it,” he said.

Marine Rescue Port Kembla Unit Commander Kevin Bradley said the new facility enables current or future volunteers with limited mobility or disabilities to participate in the Service’s lifesaving operations.

“The new all-accessible radio room at the Port Kembla vessel base provides the opportunity for members to volunteer in radio operations and support our mission of saving lives on the water.

“This new facility will allow us to recruit more volunteers to help us keep our waters safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“The radio base at Hill 60 is a two-storey building with an internal spiral staircase which has made it challenging for many volunteers with limited mobility or a disability.

“In the event that the Hill 60 radio base goes offline, the new facility at the Port Kembla vessel base will also allow us to continue our vital radio operations in the region,” said Unit Commander Bradley.

Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said she was proud to support the selfless volunteers at the unit via the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund.

“The essential role Marine Rescue Port Kembla plays in providing monitoring, rescue and education services is crucial in ensuring the safety of local boaters and tourists.

“They keep our waterways safe and provide vital communications for boaters,” the Minister said.

The Port Kembla Community Investment Fund is a competitive, merit-based program that financially supports projects that revitalise Port Kembla and surrounding areas for the benefit of the community through new infrastructure, upgrading of existing assets and encouraging tourism.

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