VMR and Coastguard to amalgamate under $35m plan
MARINE rescue workers will receive a $35 million cash boost under a Labor Government - but there is a catch.
The funding comes on the proviso of an amalgamation between Volunteer Marine Rescue and Coastguard Services.
The money also will be spent on replacement vessels.
The LNP said Labor's decision to force the services to combine had blindsided many dedicated marine volunteers.
A re-elected Palaszczuk Government would establish a Marine Rescue Queensland Implementation Working Group to progress the transition to an integrated statewide Marine Rescue Volunteer service.
In July, VMR Mackay skipper Charles Linsley said the local service could be financially unviable in three years' time, as volunteers anxiously awaited a State Government review on the issue.
Mr Linsley was involved in the Blue Water Review working group, which explored the viability and financial situation of Queensland marine rescue operations.
The review was completed in November and had been passed onto the State Government for its consideration in January.
Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said establishing a single service would complement the state's already high-quality disaster and emergency management practices.
"Having one integrated marine rescue service in Queensland makes perfect sense," Mr Crawford said.
"This will deliver a statewide marine search and rescue service which can co-ordinate with other emergency services, including the Queensland Police Service and Queensland Ambulance Service.
"An integrated statewide network means volunteers will have greater opportunities to lend their skills and capabilities to all emergencies."
LNP spokesman for volunteers Lachlan Millar said the decision demonstrated "terrible treatment" of our emergency service volunteers.
"This is not the way you treat volunteers," Mr Millar said.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to come clean and tell Queenslanders which services will be closed and which services will have their funding cut.
"Labor is spending $17.38 million on a forced amalgamation that will see the closure of local squadrons, flotillas disbanded and reduced services in regional communities."
The LNP has already announced a $25 million plan to replace the ageing marine rescue fleet of VMR and Coastguard.