LETTER: Thanks for the rescue tower safety campaign

THANK you to The Northern Star for the timely campaign about replacing the essential Ballina Marine Rescue Tower.

While the matter is treated as a political football people's lives continue to be put at risk. Volunteers now work in unsuitable facilities to keep boaties safe.

In a cynical exercise prior to the last State Election the Coalition Government denied the request by Don Page, the retiring long-standing local member, for $500,000 towards replacing the tower. What a fitting legacy to Mr Page's commitment to the local area this funding would have been. Had the request been granted the project may have been completed by now.

As part of the last round of regional grants the Australian Government failed to approve Ballina Shire Council's grant application for funds to complete the project. The next round of funding is not until early 2016.

Marine rescue is a state responsibility falling within the Emergency Services portfolio. Yet the State Government is unwilling to meet its responsibility. Instead it criticises Ballina Shire Council, which has set money aside for the rebuild.

What price a human life, Mike Baird, Kevin Hogan and Malcolm Turnbull? Stop putting people's lives at risk for political expediency.

Local people, but especially boaties, can lobby politicians to ensure State and Federal governments meet the funding shortfall to replace the tower so this critical service can operate effectively.

- MEG PICKUP, Ballina.



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