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Hawkesbury River Rescue
has their authority cancelled
Among the unfortunate legacies left to us by one-time
Transport Minister Joe Tripodi, and ex-Police Minister Mike
Gallagher was the uncalled for and unsavoury demolition of
a number of self-funded, voluntary Maritime Rescue Services.
These services have for many years provided a safety net for
fishermen, sailors, work vessels, and boating families both at
sea and on coastal rivers.
Boats have been rescued, lives saved and tragedies averted
by the dedicated services of these men and women, who have
provided 24/7 radio contact for all boaters. They have trained
neophyte water-users, ensured boats were safe and dependable
and in satisfactory state to be navigated on the specific waterways.
They have towed to safety boats of all sizes that have broken
down or are in danger. They have assisted in the rescue of crew
and the salvaging of sunken or sinking vessels.
And all this was carried out without cost to the taxpayer of
the rescued, and no profit to the volunteers.
Mr Tripodi’s scheme was to form a new organization, the
Marine Rescue Association of NSW, which could be funded and
controlled by the State Government through NSW Ports and
Maritime. The same organization that assisted Mr Obeid with
his Circular Quay properties.
The initial requirement for the scheme was that all existing
Rescue Services would first be disbanded and re-reinstated as
part of this plan. They would lose their independence, but all
the volunteers would be provided with handsome uniforms and
glossy badges of rank.
Sadly, some of the existing groups felt that the money for
uniforms and badges, along with the rest of the customary hoopla,
would be better spent assisting them to continue to run their
voluntary services. A little support with boat and equipment
Resisting the allure of the magnificent finery, some of the
existing Rescue Organisations decided their records showed
a pretty remarkable success rate in their operations and that
epaulettes weren’t really necessary. They refused to abandon
their independence, and determined to carry on as before.
But that’s not the way government works.
One of the first to feel the wrath of spurned power was
Hawkesbury River Rescue, which had been providing a 24/7 radio
safety net and on-the-water rescue for 28 years.
They were required to jump through Maritime and Police
hoops to prove they were capable of doing those things they had
been doing since Mr Tripodi was still in short pants.
A Senior Police Officer was despatched to a compulsory
meeting to assure himself that all was ship-shape and Bristol
To the long-serving and horny-handed volunteers, this officer
seemed to be a bowline short of a casting line, somewhat lacking
in experience and knowledge of matters maritime.
He took little time to convince himself that the Hawkesbury
River Rescue team had had extraordinary luck over the past 28
years, that it was a matter of wonder that the river and the Central
Coast was not a cemetery of sunken ships and decaying bodies.
He had their authority cancelled.
If they insisted on breaking the law to save lives, they would
be liable to huge fines.
Perhaps now that Mr Tripodi and Mr Gallagher have fallen
on their swords, it might be an appropriate time to reconsider
days. Few people know Port Jackson exists and its activities are
almost completely managed by Terry Hills. Most of the volunteer
operators, (including me) retired from service there because it
Please, upgrade the HF tuners and put some real aerials there
and make that the HF base for Marine Rescue up and down the
coast for passaging vessels.
Some of the very skilled HF operators who operated the
base so well before might be interested in returning to the roster
that we had before Marine Rescue arrived. It has the computer
facilities, it has the connections and it could focus on 2, 4, 6 and
8 megs, and passaging vessels.
With its location and some decent equipment (like the stuff
you agreed to buy from Penta Comstat, and didn’t) it would be
a fantastic facility running 6am to 10pm with an internet email
service in case boats have satellite communicators.
That would provide the coastal coverage that boaties crave
for, it would stop this nonsense of discontinuous service, and
as a HF base, would gather the expertise to become a first class
long range communicator.
Simple, inexpensive. The facilities are there (well most of
them) and it would put back to work some great volunteers who
are presently incensed with your attitude. It has the capacity
to serve from Tassie to Queensland and much of the Pacific.
That would be a credit to you, rather than the poppycock we are
presently putting up with.
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