History made with $27 million budget to keep Queenslanders safe on the water

JOINT STATEMENT
  • First ever budget for Queensland’s new single integrated and sustainable volunteer marine rescue service, Marine Rescue Queensland (MRQ).
  • New volunteer organisation will have a $27 million budget allocation with 35 support staff.
  • Progressive transition of units to the new MRQ commences 1 July 2024.

The Miles Government has delivered $27 million for the new Marine Rescue Queensland to keep people safe on the water.

MRQ will bring together the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association (AVCGA) and Volunteer Marine Rescue Association Queensland (VMRAQ) marine rescue units from across Queensland into an integrated and sustainable volunteer marine rescue service.

The funding allocation includes more than $20 million to directly support frontline volunteers with equipment, supplies and rescue resources.

The budget delivers record support for the state’s marine rescue volunteers and services and recognises the contribution of volunteer marine services as an important part of the state’s local community disaster and emergency response.

On 3 June 2024, MRQ was established as an entity under the QPS with its own budget, legislation and Chief Officer.

The transition of bringing marine volunteer units to MRQ will now begin in a phased approach from July 2024 and continue onboarding units for the next 12 to 18 months.

The reforms to establish the dedicated MRQ stem from a series of independent reviews into service sustainability.

Queensland marine rescue volunteers currently undertake approximately 4,000 activations operating across 46 units throughout the state each year and the new service will enhance support at local and regional levels as well as improve protections for volunteers.

As stated by Premier Steven Miles:

“Our marine rescue volunteers do a fantastic job keeping Queenslanders and visitors safe on and in Queensland’s beautiful oceans and marine waterways.

“My first Budget as Premier, includes significant investment in Marine Rescue Queensland, a real reflection of the valuable contribution of volunteer marine services and my government’s commitment to support those who keep Queenslanders safe.”

As stated by Deputy Premier Cameron Dick:

“A more sustainable service will provide a more responsive service for Queenslanders.

“This budget provides dedicated funding for frontline support, resources, vessels and equipment and MRQ will work with volunteers to create greater consistency of service across the state.”

“Queensland volunteers are champions of our state, and the Miles Government’s first budget is funding a model that will better support them in keeping people safe on the water.”

As stated by Police Minister Mark Ryan:

“For generations volunteers from the AVCGA and VMRAQ have supported their local communities, responding to disasters, and providing emergency lifesaving services to help people who need help.

“MRQ will unite our marine rescue services and uplift the capabilities for our staff, our volunteers and the community, well into the future.

“As we progressively roll-out MRQ, community safety and continuity of services are paramount. We support AVCGA and VMRAQ to continue to fund and deliver services as we transition units across the state.”

As stated by Commissioner Steve Gollschewski:

“Community safety is at the forefront of our disaster and emergency services response, and our marine rescue volunteers deliver important local community safety services.

“This is a new era for marine rescue services in Queensland.

“We welcome the dedicated funds which will help enhance services and provide resources for the thousands of volunteers who protect our communities each day.”

As stated by MRQ Chief Officer Tony Wulff:

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of marine rescue in Queensland and they will be the backbone of Marine Rescue Queensland too.

“This budget will enable us to build a service which supports, celebrates and champions the lifesaving work of our volunteers.

“It will also help fund much needed equipment and supplies and support delivery of broader community education and water safety programs.”

/Public Release. View in full here.