Lifesaving funds needed

SURF lifesavers have been an iconic presence on Perth beaches since the first club was established in 1909.

However, like many other public organisations, surf lifesaving clubs have faced steeply increasing public liability insurance premiums for the past five years.

Since 1998 Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s public liability insurance premiums have increased from $5,400 to $144,000 this year.

The WA Government provided a one-off grant of $45,000 to help the organisation meet its insurance premium requirements.

That has resulted in the organisation reducing some of its community education programs that were offered to 30,000 school children last year

Surf Life Saving WA’s main role is providing lifesavers for WA’s popular beaches. It does that through 23 volunteer clubs stretching from Broome to Esperance and has nine professional contracts with waterfront councils. The beach patrol season commenced on September 27.

Surf Life Saving WA general manager David Armstrong said besides its education programs and surf lifesaving carnivals, the organisation also provided safety for around 16 events run by other sporting groups.

“Without us, around 20,000 entries wouldn’t happen,” Mr Armstrong said.

Last financial year the organisation had operating revenue of $1,590,257 and this year it is projected to have $1.85 million.

Business sponsorship makes up 22 per cent, government grants add 25 per cent, private sponsorship brings in about 5 per cent and membership fees account for 6 per cent. The remaining 42 per cent comes from fundraising activities such as direct mail campaigns, raffles and its annual street appeal.

The annual street appeal will be held on December 12.

Its annual Telstra Beach to Bush program kicks off on October 20 and the XXXX Gold Bridge to Brewery event – a combined kayak, swim and running race – will be held on February 7.

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