Isaacs Electorate: Surf-Lifesaving

I rise to speak about some of the unsung heroes in my electorate of Isaacs. These are the fantastic men and women who volunteer as lifesavers on the magnificent beaches in my electorate from Mentone to Carrum, along Port Phillip Bay. Isaacs has seven lifesaving clubs: Mentone LSC, Mordialloc LSC, Aspendale LSC, Edithvale LSC, Chelsea Longbeach SLSC, Bonbeach LSC and Carrum SLSC.

I rise to speak about some of the unsung heroes in my electorate of Isaacs. These are the fantastic men and women who volunteer as lifesavers on the magnificent beaches in my electorate from Mentone to Carrum, along Port Phillip Bay. Isaacs has seven lifesaving clubs: Mentone LSC, Mordialloc LSC, Aspendale LSC, Edithvale LSC, Chelsea Longbeach SLSC, Bonbeach LSC and Carrum SLSC.

Our lifesavers protect us. Lifesaving is part of a quintessentially Australian activity and holds a very special place in Australian culture. Many of my constituents give up hundreds of hours of their valuable time each year to contribute their services to the local community. They are joined by paid lifeguards and support staff from across the state of Victoria. In 2006-07, lifesaving clubs in Victoria recorded 796 rescues and over 39,000 preventative actions. The combined lifesaving clubs of Isaacs contributed to some 20 rescues and 390 preventative actions.

The Year of the Surf Life Saver was 2007—the centenary of the founding of surf-lifesaving at Bondi in 1907. The year 2007 was also the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Bonbeach Life Saving Club. It has provided 75 years of outstanding service to the community—and may it for many more years.

I would like to commend Debra Jordan, a very capable president of the club and an editor of the fantastic photographic history book which was produced for the 75th anniversary of the Bonbeach Life Saving Club. On 2 March this year, I was privileged to attend the book launch of this brilliant pictorial history. The history records that the Bonbeach Life Saving Club was founded in 1932 and, within two months, had conducted three rescues. It grew quickly and within two years it had reached an extraordinary number of 200 members.

Over the war years, membership dropped as members joined the services, but a very forward-thinking president, Dick Hutchings, formed a strong junior membership plan, which provided the outstanding talent for what the club sees as its golden years of 1945-65. There was a lull in activities in the late seventies, but with investment and reorganisation in the early 1980s the club recovered and is definitely still going strong. Just last year, members of the Bonbeach club, along with lifesavers from Chelsea, rescued two sailors from a de-masted and sinking boat on the bay.

Three of the lifesaving clubs in Isaacs take part in the Open Water Swim Series along the Victorian coastline each summer. Edithvale and Aspendale clubs have a fantastic joint event called the Club 2 Club, which is a 1.5 kilometre swim from the Edithvale clubhouse to the Aspendale clubhouse. The Bonbeach club has a 1.2 kilometre swim, which is the last of the season for these open water swims. I had the privilege, with hundreds of other swimmers, of taking part in both the Club 2 Club on 9 February and the Bonbeach Life Saving Club’s Open Water Swim for 2008 on 16 March. They were invigorating events and, even though I was definitely not the fastest swimmer to complete either event, at least I did not require the services of the lifesavers.

It is clear that lifesaving clubs do much more than patrol their allotted patch of beach and water. From providing much needed assistance to the emergency services way back in the devastating floods of 1934 to providing lifesaving and first aid to residents and visitors, teaching children to swim and providing public education on safe beach practices and competition and activities for young people, lifesaving clubs are very much part of the local community fabric along the bay—indeed, they are hubs of community activity. I would like to thank all these clubs and their members for their service to the people of Isaacs.

Question agreed to.