16 October 2023

Today I want to emphasise the critical importance of the Queenscliff Coast Guard and the heroic role they play in safeguarding our coastal waters. This emergency crew was recently involved in a dangerous rescue after a boat smashed into a reef near the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse. The sea pilot boat ran aground on its way through the treacherous waters of a rip, a four-metre swell and 60-kilometre-per-hour wind gusts. Water police confirmed that the three-man crew whose job it is to guide the ship safely through the heads had faced grave danger and were lucky to survive, while the 17-metre pilot boat was torn apart in the violent surf.

Only the week before, I had joined the Queenscliff Coast Guard to celebrate their purchase of state-of-the-art wet weather gear, funded through our Stronger Communities Program. This Australian government grant was a lifeline to the Queenscliff rescue team, ensuring that they had the equipment to do their job effectively and return safely to their families. The Albanese government is dedicated to helping those who tirelessly protect our shores and our people, often facing the harshest of conditions. Emergency workers often go unrecognised, so I take this opportunity to thank the Queenscliff Coast Guard volunteers for protecting us when we need it most. Thank you.