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  1. #1

    Exclamation VMR & Coast Guard Review....


    Media Statements

    Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Craig Crawford

    Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    Retired Royal Australian Navy Commodore to head review into marine rescue organisations

    Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll today (Tuesday) announced Campbell Darby DSC AM will lead the review into the State’s volunteer marine rescue organisations.

    Mr Crawford said Mr Darby "brought with him a wealth of knowledge” in relation to maritime safety, as well as significant experience in emergency management operational activities.
    “Commissioner Carroll and I are extremely pleased that Mr Darby will oversee the review of volunteer marine rescue operations in Queensland waters,” Mr Crawford said.
    “The aim of the review is to ensure Queenslanders continue receiving the best service possible.”

    Campbell Darby has had a distinguished career in the Royal Australian Navy, where he commanded the HMAS Ipswich, HMAS Sydney and HMAS Brisbane. From late 2003 until mid-2004, he commanded Australian Forces in the Middle East area of operations. Mr Darby was invested as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001 and in 2005 received the award of a Distinguished Service Cross for service in Iraq.
    He joined the Federal Attorney-General’s Department in 2010 and resigned from Director General Emergency Management Australia (DGEMA) in 2012.
    Commissioner Carroll said Mr Darby would begin work on the review, announced last Thursday, in the coming weeks.

    “Our thousands of volunteers who make up our marine rescue groups in Queensland, do an amazing job in ensuring our boaties and those participating in various marine activities are kept safe and receive a helping hand if they do get into trouble,” Ms Carroll said.

    “Queensland has the longest coast line within Australia that is actually serviced by our volunteer marine rescue groups, as they provide their blue water safety net up and down the coast, from Mornington Island right down to Coolangatta.

    “As you can appreciate this is a vast area to cover and if we can identify through this review enhanced efficiencies and effectiveness on how our Marine Rescue Groups in Queensland operate – we will be able to not only ensure our volunteers are better supported but the people of Queensland have a modernised and improved emergency services capability on the water.”

    QFES supports marine rescue organisations Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association (AVCGA) and Volunteer Marine Rescue Association Queensland (VMRAQ) through service level agreements, which are due to expire on June 30, 2019.

    Under these agreements, QFES annually provides AVCGA with $1.5 million, and VMRAQ with $1.7 million. There are 21 Coastguard, and 26 VMR locations across Queensland.
    The review of marine rescue services will be completed prior to negotiations for new service agreements (June next year).

    Mr Crawford said he asked for the review after “visiting marine rescue bases up and down the coast where volunteers raised some very complex issues affecting service delivery in these locations”.
    “I want to reiterate how much this Government values the services provided by marine rescue volunteers,” he said.

    MEDIA 0412 393 909

    I have emailed the minister asking if the review will ask for public submissions. Fingers Crossed , they will....

    cheers LP

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  2. #2

    Re: VMR & Coast Guard Review....

    Would be interested to hear thoughts by members here also,
    Minister has already been out to meet some flotillas and being told the review will involve them as well.

    We are just hoping it will be better for the public and for the volunteers,
    But i suspect government will take control and will fund it with an increase to rego i would guess,

  3. #3

    Re: VMR & Coast Guard Review....

    Thanks lethal,

    Every squadron / flotilla / station needs to sing from the same page, and that must be amalgamation.

    Funding is not an issue to the smart operator.

    The RUF can be increased by as little as $5 which will put about $1.4 mill into the system without any additional cost to the boatie. Think ahead and increase rego by $5 and the RUF by $10, and bazinger... $2.8 mill into the coffers.

    $1.4 mill divided up by the 47 and in addition the existing $3.2mill, giving an overall funding package of about $100,000 per year to each squadron.

    IMO, still not enough for the bigger squadrons. But it could be a good start and if the Government were fair dinkum, there would be mandatory contributions made under law by any new " resource " company wanting to pillage our natural resources. Adani, for instance could be tied up to an " emergency service contract " and provide a small percentage of pre-tax profits to VMR / Coast Guard, careflight etc. This would help their bottom line due to being tax deductible contributions... win win.

    Let's also consider the waterside Assist package similar to the Roadside assist with new cars.... every boat ( second hand or new ) sold by a commercial enterprise, must come with waterside assist, that is a $50 fee going straight to a Queensland wide data base. $50 as a base membership and stepped to provide more options. In a couple of years with about 50,000 or more boats coming under this system...., that's another 2.5mill heading your way.

    Let's also consider the rescues and the compulsory payment of costs associated with them. If no payment made, refer to the SPURS system, it is used for our roads, so why not our waterways ?

    Just some random thoughts...........

    cheers LP
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  4. #4

    Re: VMR & Coast Guard Review....

    Agree wholeheartedly Phil,

    The current system is flawed in many ways,

    In My opinion the outcome from this will be a single organisation, It wont be one joining the other, it will be one brand new One, that will be controlled by the state government, Not dis similar to MRNSW i would imagine, Although i do hope they dont have so many paid positions to run it.

    Funding is always the hardest part, I think if they increase the Rego fees to cover the funding then everyone is assisted at no cost, The same way Ambulance works,

  5. #5

    Re: VMR & Coast Guard Review....

    I dont have an issue with amalgamation of the governing bodies, but I will fight hard against anything like what happened in NSW.

    My yacht club (Sandgate Yacht Club - 1912) is one of the oldest clubs that kicked of marine rescue here in Brisbane. In 1986, we turned that club and its assets over to Air Sea Rescue (now Volunteer Marine Rescue) on the false promise of government funding. I will be fucked if someone takes that club away from me and all the work that myself and others have put into it over the last 100+ years.

  6. #6

    Re: VMR & Coast Guard Review....

    Merging/amalgamation here in NSW was not easy, most saw it as a takeover, rather than a rationisation of resources, we operate a bit different to QLD, you can join the Marine Rescue organisation, and this gives you a call sign and other benefits, but, if you need a tow, it doesn't cost anything, member or not, but it is kind of expected that you make a donation to cover costs, and most do. Almost all running costs are from donations, sausage sizzles at Bunnings and so on, but the merging of the various rescue organisations did not go smooth, so, I expect that will be the case up there too.

  7. #7

    Re: VMR & Coast Guard Review....

    I hope it does go well, if at all. There are still some hard nuts to crack in both camps, but if commonsense prevails, it will work. The issue I see is that the " paid " position of CEO / DG / MD or whatever they will call the chief is probably going to a vote of all squadron chiefs and with one mob having a slight majority, they could simply have " their guy " in the box seat. This is where some " politics and back door deals " will be done to get the best or right person for the job.

    I also believe the NSW type of regime will end up being what we get. Who knows ?

    We also need to decide under which Government department the management will fall. The obvious one is Emergency Services, but Fisheries, Transport or Police could handle it.

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  8. #8

    Re: VMR & Coast Guard Review....

    It's not going to be "friendly" when/if it all goes ahead, but, if everyone kind of has the same final vision, and put some effort into it, then it can work, what will probably happen is, the bigger locations will be retained as "headquarters" and the smaller ones will just be a kind of branch, one huge stumbling block was the actual name, everyone wanted their name be retained, but in the end, a more consistent name was adopted, simply "Marine Rescue" even the smaller branches that operate in lakes and so on have this common naming convention, all I can say is, best of luck, and I hope it all pans out for the best long term.

  9. #9

    Re: VMR & Coast Guard Review....

    It may not be friendly, but it needs to happen.

    I have seen this on the cards for a while now, and the NSW clusterfark pushed me into encouraging more local community based clubs getting hooked into our local VMR. We now have in the ranks the original Sandgate Yacht Club, VMR Brisbane, Sandgate Canoe Club, Polynesian Outrigger Club, Xiang Dragon Boat Club and Fish N Chicks among others.

    I personally had a bit of a fall out with the current management committee at VMR Brisbane, so I have been laying low. I think I am seen as one of the recalcitrant members that does not want to move forward, but this is far from the truth. I just want to keep the club I have spent the last 40 year life with alive. I don't care what they call it in the end, makes no difference, just along as I can go down and sit on my boat on the pontoon, have rum, talk shit with my mates and enjoy boating and life.

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