JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Member for Kiama Gareth Ward and Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson today jointly presented $18,000 funding to the Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol based in Albion Park.
Mr Ward and Ms Watson said they were extremely pleased to secure funding for this iconic patrol service which was formed back in 1957 following shark sightings across Illawarra beaches.
“This funding will support the upgrade of flood lighting in aircraft hangar to conform to recommended environmental standards including a full rewiring of hangar facility and internal painting of adjoining office space,” he said.
“Harry Mitchell and his team do an outstanding job patrolling our beaches particularly during the busy summer holiday period from mid-December through to the end of January,” Mr Ward said.
Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson said she was pleased to secure this $18,000 in joint funding.
“In the event a shark is sighted, an Aerial Patrol crew member will contact lifesavers at the nearest beach, who will inform swimmers. Sharks are most commonly spotted near the entrance to Lake Illawarra and between Austinmer and Coalcliff,” she said.
“Statistically, you have more chance of winning lotto than being taken by a shark. There is no need for swimmers to avoid going to the beach, but be vigilant, always swim between the flags and follow the instructions of lifeguards,” Ms Watson said.
General Manager of Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol, Harry Mitchell said:
“The grant is most welcome as it provides the opportunity to undertake the first major upgrade of our hangar and facilities since 1988.
“It is wonderful indeed to know that both the Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward and the Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson recognise the value of the service that Aerial Patrol provides to the communities of four Illawarra and South Coast Local Government Areas. We are indeed grateful,” Mr Mitchell said.
The Aerial Patrol is available for response to emergencies daylight hours, 7 days a week, with a response time of 30 minutes.
23 January 2015