Speech: Surf Life Saving South Australia

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (12:15): I rise as well to speak on this motion brought to us by the member for Finniss, acknowledging the great work that our surf lifesaving clubs do here in South Australia, and I thank him for this very important motion. It is hard to imagine our beaches without the red and yellow flags of our surf clubs. The flags are such a recognisable sight to all Australians right across the country from Bondi in Sydney to Scarborough in Perth, and, of course, across the 22 clubs at our South Australian beaches from Robe in the South-East to Whyalla we have some wonderful volunteers who do great work at our surf lifesaving clubs.


Surf clubs dot our metropolitan coastline and further south in the member for Finniss's electorate, with surf lifesaving clubs at some of the state's most picturesque beaches. The Goolwa Surf Lifesaving Club—I was very pleased to be with the member for Finniss when we unveiled the great new redevelopment there—is a wonderful spot. Whether you are out getting active or just relaxing and having a drink at the end of the day or a bite to eat, the club does an outstanding job.

Port Elliot is a beautiful beach down there in the member for Finniss's electorate and Chiton Rocks is another surf club, which I opened with the member for Finniss a little while back, since coming into this job. It is a beautiful club, tucked away in there, and not many people know about it. In fact, it has a great affiliation with the Henley surf club in the member for Colton's electorate, and many of his constituents head down there and patrol the beaches at Chiton Rocks. It is a great little spot to go and visit, and the balcony of the club is a wonderful place to be on a sunny afternoon.

South Australia has some of the most beautiful and accessible beaches in the world, and I have just outlined a couple. The red and yellow striped flags are such a reassuring sight, to know that when we are down at the beach and we see these flags we can relax and swim safely, knowing that we are watched over by very well-trained and capable surf lifesavers, who not only devote their time but do it for no remuneration as well, because the majority are volunteers doing wonderful work in our community.

They are another great group of South Australian volunteers, and within my portfolio area I am very lucky to work with so many, be they through the CFS, the SES, surf lifesaving, or the so many sports clubs that I deal with right across our great state. As a state we are very lucky to have, I think, the best volunteers in the country, and I take every opportunity and this opportunity as well to say thank you to all our volunteers. They want to make everybody on the beach feel safe and enjoy the wonderful places where they are swimming and recreating.

We know all too well that our beaches can be dangerous. We heard the member for Finniss talk about that, and surf lifesavers truly deserve their title of being lifesavers. In my electorate, I am very privileged to have two surf lifesaving clubs, Brighton and Somerton, and they are bookended just outside my boundaries by Seacliff and Glenelg. A lot of people from my community also go to those surf clubs. So they are just four in my local area that I know do an absolutely amazing job week in, week out. It is always a pleasure to visit these clubs throughout the year and see the excellent service they provide to our community right across the board.

I will take this moment to acknowledge the President of the Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club, Chris Parsons, and the President of the Somerton Surf Lifesaving Club, Warwick Holland, for their leadership and the amazing job they do with their whole team. Again, I thank all the people on the committees. We know volunteer clubs do not operate with just one or two people; the committees run very deep, and we thank everyone. Both those clubs have had very big years.

Last year, Brighton's club tower was officially opened, again with the federal member, Nicolle Flint, and my parliamentary colleague the Minister for Environment, David Speirs, the member for Black. It was great to be down there opening that. The tower looked spectacular and it really is one of those iconic surf lifesaving sights on our beach and it allows the people of that surf lifesaving club to patrol the beaches and keep the residents of our community even safer.

There is also our election commitment: another great thing we have done at the Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club in particular. It is just one of three across the country, I am informed, that has a road between their surf lifesaving club and the beach. We have put a great new wombat crossing there with flashing lights as well. Many youngsters, in particular, are travelling from the surf lifesaving club across to the beach with equipment and gear, then coming back and washing up at the end of the day—and there is also a playground right next door—so the community really uses the crossing. In the lead-up to the last election, the club came to me and said, 'This is something we would really like to do.' They had been pursuing it for a while without any success, but we delivered it for that community and I think it has been a wonderful outcome.

The Somerton Surf Life Saving Club have begun their 60th season—a huge milestone for this club. It is a great club with wonderful members, really down-to-earth folk. I like to get down there whenever I can. Their committee does a great job and they have a really great vibe around their club. I must say that that is not in small part due to Robin Kidney senior. Robin founded the club 60 years ago. He is a great community member. He also founded the Mitchell Park Football Club and was a very staunch member of the Army Reserve, 10th Battalion of the Royal South Australian Regiment.

I do not think he will mind me saying that he is a gentleman who is getting on in years. He is no spring chicken anymore. He is always around at the club with a big smile on his face, and to see what the club is today from what he founded when it first kicked off should make him very proud. I know the community is very proud of him and what he has done. It would be remiss of me not to mention that, as well as these wonderful community aspects and growth and projects he has been involved with over his time, he is an outstanding musician. He is a very talented man and I know that the Somerton Surf Life Saving Club is greatly indebted to him for kicking the club off and making it, as I said, what it is today.

I caught up with him most recently when I was there with the member for Morphett when we unveiled the walk through the Minda Dunes. Fundamentally, that links his fine electorate with my even better electorate and allows our communities to link through there and not have to go back and walk along the footpaths and the streets. You can do the beach walk all the way along and that path takes you through. It really has added to the Somerton Surf Life Saving Club and the people now who engage with the club. In fact, I did the walk on the weekend and saw the member for Morphett out doing cleaning up work on the beach. Again, he is another great community contributor doing wonderful work in his area.

In January 2020, the Australian Open Water Swimming Championships took place at the Brighton jetty. The championship is the nation's premier open water swimming event. Once again, we were treated to some of the world's best swimmers on display. In February, of course, we had the Brighton Jetty Classic, an ocean swim hosted by the Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club. A number of American competitors came over to take part in the Open Water Swimming Championships as they prepare for the Olympic Games, and it was great to see that international flavour in Adelaide. The Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club is very heavily involved in that.

They also had the Jetty Classic the week after. That is famous. You would have heard us talk in this place many times about the Marilyn swim and all the other events. It ranges from a 100-metre swim, a 400-metre swim to a 1.5-kilometre swim. As I pointed out, the Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club volunteers who run cover for that event do a wonderful job. I congratulate them all. The Marilyn Jetty Swim is a charity fundraiser for the Cancer Council.

Also in February, in what has been a very busy month, a number of members took part in the rescue and resuscitation state titles. They achieved fantastic results, with Matilda Whelan and Ellie Morgan from the Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club winning a bronze medal in the under 15s two-person rescue and resuscitation event. That is just fantastic to see because whilst they are out there having fun, being fit and being healthy, there are the underlying thoughts, ideas and focus on rescue and resuscitation. That is very important because that is what they are there to do: be fit, be healthy and, have fun on the beach, but they are there to save lives and that is what they do. Congratulations to Matilda and Ellie.

In the same month, a few of Brighton's surfboat teams travelled to New South Wales to take part in the 2020 Surf Live Saving Australia Surf Boat Interstate Championship, with the women's Bombshells team finishing fifth in the final of the women's reserve, and the Brighton Biddies winning silver in the masters competition. Congratulations to them.

It is important to remember that surf lifesaving clubs across our state are built on volunteers. We have talked about that, and we cannot thank our volunteers enough. As one of the largest volunteer movements of its kind in the world, surf lifesaving clubs carry out so much more than just patrolling our beaches. Beyond that, they provide a community for lifelong friends and they facilitate water safety, risk education and experiences. As a government, we have supported surf lifesaving clubs around our state in a number of ways.

Our election commitment was that every surf lifesaving club will be provided $5,000 a year for four years to help purchase front-line equipment. That has been incredibly well received. We are subsidising Surf Babies and Little Lifesavers, programs to help parents and kids get involved and confident around the water. That has been outstanding. We also have our drone coverage. Our shark-spotting drones have been incredibly well received. They have done a great job in complementing the planes and rescue helicopters we have in place.

Again, I commend the member for Finniss for the great work he does in his community and for bringing this motion to the house. I support the motion.

Authorised by Corey Wingard MP, Member for Gibson. Level 2, 1 Milham Street Oaklands Park SA 5046. ©Copyright / Legal / Login