Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott recently announced a new $1.4 million operations centre at The Spit for Marine Rescue NSW volunteers to help keep boaters safe on Sydney’s iconic harbour.
Mr Elliott joined Member for North Shore Felicity Wilson, Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell, and volunteers to inspect the plans for the new Marine Rescue Middle Harbour base at The Spit.
Member for North Shore Felicity Wilson said the modern base would ensure the volunteers had the facilities to plan and coordinate their operations to respond to emergencies and support the big annual events on the Harbour, as well as their training activities to keep crews rescue-ready.
“The existing building has been home for more than four decades to the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol, Marine Rescue Middle Harbour and for a time, the MRNSW Headquarters. In fact, in years gone by, volunteers would sleep upstairs during weekend shifts,” Ms Wilson said.
“The age and advanced deterioration of the building now means it needs to be replaced and I am pleased the NSW Government has been able to invest the funding to ensure our volunteers have the facilities they deserve and need.”
Minister Elliott said Sydney Harbour is the busiest waterway in the country, with thousands of commercial, passenger, sporting and recreational vessels out every day, along with ever-increasing numbers of paddleboards, kayaks and similar craft.
“The professionally trained and equipped volunteers at Marine Rescue Middle Harbour and the neighbouring Port Jackson unit are ready 24/7 to respond to boaters in trouble,” Mr Elliott said.
“Ensuring these volunteers have the purpose-designed facilities and resources to support their vital work will improve boating safety on the harbour.”
In the past 18 months, Middle Harbour crews have launched more than 220 rescues, including over 20 in response to life-endangering emergencies, returning 600-plus boaters safely to shore.
“The NSW Government is proud to support our emergency services volunteers. We have invested $37.6 million to provide Marine Rescue members with modern facilities, 38 new rescue vessels and improved marine radio infrastructure,” Mr Elliott said.
The new building will be an airy, light-filled construction with views over the busy surrounding waters through floor to ceiling windows. It will include dedicated training, meeting and store rooms, offices, a communications area, a crew ready room, lockers, bathrooms and kitchen.
MRNSW Deputy Commissioner Alex Barrell said the construction of the new building was only possible thanks to the State Government’s $37.6 million support for the organisation’s volunteers and life-saving work.
“For the first time, we are able to ensure more of our volunteers have fit-for-purpose facilities to plan and coordinate their operations,” Mr Barrell said.
Work is expected to begin in mid-2021.