Macquarie Bank Foundation gets behind Australia's Surf Lifesavers

17 November 2006

The Macquarie Bank Foundation has entered a major five-year partnership with Surf Life Saving Australia in a move designed to significantly improve safety for the beach-going public.

Under the partnership, the Macquarie Bank Foundation Surf Lifesavers Training Fundwill be established to train the country’s 34,000 active surf lifesavers in the latest techniques, recruit new volunteers, increase the skills of trainers and purchase specialised equipment.

To that effect, the Foundation has made a $1 million contribution to the Year of the Lifesaver fundraising appeal, which seeks to raise $20 million in 2007 as the movement celebrates its 100th anniversary

Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Brett Williamson said the initiative represented a major show of business support and would help save many lives as the organisation entered its centenary year.

“Australia’s surf lifesavers have rescued more than 500,000 people since the movement began in 1907 but we require significant funds to allow our work in Australia and around the Asia-Pacific region to continue,” he said. “That’s why this support is so critical.”

Macquarie Bank Foundation Chairman David Clarke said surf lifesaving was one of Australia's great volunteer movements and Macquarie’s support was in recognition of the outstanding community service it provided.

“Surf lifesaving in Australia has been built on the enduring support of generations of volunteers and we want to give every support to the thousands of lifesavers who give up their time each weekend to keep the beaches safe for our families,” he said.

“The Macquarie Bank Foundation is pleased to kick-start this fundraising campaign and establish this important training fund, which will have an immediate impact on the beaches and in the community."

Chairman of the Year of the Surf Lifesaver Advisory Board, Lachlan Murdoch, said the Foundation’s commitment marked an important development for the movement.

“The Year of the Surf Lifesaver in 2007 is an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on the contribution of our volunteer surf lifesavers, who have kept the country’s beaches safe for 100 years and laid the foundation for Australia’s famous beach culture,” he said.

“With the Macquarie Bank Foundation’s support, Surf Life Saving Australia will be able to provide additional rescue equipment, train more surf lifesavers and expand essential community surf safety programs.”

The Macquarie Bank Foundation Surf Lifesavers Training Fund will enable all Australian surf lifesavers to be updated in newly approved international resuscitation guidelines, in one of the biggest retraining programs in the last decade.

It will also help recruit and train new lifesavers, facilitate courses to increase the base of accredited trainers and provide training tools such as specialised mannequins and computerised rescue scenarios.

Picture editors note:a photo opportunity featuring Lachlan Murdoch, David Clarke and local surf lifesavers will occur at Bronte Beach at 10.30am on Friday 17 November

Chiefs of staff note: a video news release with footage of surf lifesavers performing CPR in a beach setting will be available at the launch.

For further information, please contact:

Sean O’Connell, Communications Manager, Surf Life Saving Australia 0407 286 619

Karen Boalch, Communications Manager, Macquarie Bank Foundation 02 8232 7339

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