Rescuers angry over raw deal

VOLUNTEERS within a rescue service responsible for saving the lives of Hastings residents and visitors believe they are being dealt a raw deal.

A spokesman for Marine Rescue Port Macquarie said the organisation is continually being asked to dip into its pockets to pay Port Macquarie – Hastings Council fees.

The claim comes after David Meidling – a supporter of the organisation – expressed his disgust in a letter to the Port News about the supposed fee increase for Marine Rescue to cater at this weekend’s 2012 NSW Touch Association State Cup.

His letter can be read in full on page 14.

A member of the Marine Rescue Port Macquarie who wanted to remain anonymous said an agreement had been reached and council was charging the same as previous years ($700) for the right to cater at the event which allows them to raise funds to keep the service open.

He said, however, council was asking services and businesses to join the Partnership Program which provides benefits and puts those involved on a preferred list to use for future council events.

The cost to join for not-for-profit organisations is $200 a year.

The unnamed man said it was a bit rich for council to ask a volunteer organisation to fork out even more money for the right to raise funds at council run events, especially since council often calls on the service to rescue the town’s two ferries whenever a cable snaps.

“We often receive donations from grateful boaties,” he said.

“But we are almost always expected to help out council when the ferries snap a cable and we’ve never had anything from them. Yet, they continue to expect us to dig into our pockets for all these new fees so that we can raise funds to keep operating.”

He said the new fee was on top of the lease which Marine Rescue already pays to council for both the shed on Buller Street and the radio control tower located at Town Beach.

“We did fundraising and got grants to be able to build that shed, but, because it’s on Crown Land we have to pay a lease,” he said.


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