Greater help for life saving clubs via council annual rebate

GLADSTONE Regional Council agreed on Tuesday to provide the region's surf life saving clubs with greater assistance by recognising them as emergency service providers.

By amending Council policy 2.00.01, donations to Community Organisations to recognise the Tannum Sands and Agnes Water clubs as emergency services rather than sporting clubs, the council is able to provide greater assistance via an annual rebate.

The council's finance portfolio spokesperson councillor Karen Porter said the decision recognised the importance of the service provided by surf life saving clubs.

"Council has granted these clubs an annual donation equivalent to the amount of both the water and sewerage access charges accrued by the clubs that is above that of a standard residential service," Cr Porter said.

"The rebate will be applied beginning with the current 2013-14 financial year.

"Surf life saving clubs play an important role in community safety and, although they receive Surf Life Saving Queensland reimbursement for paid life savers during peak school holiday periods, this does not cover the cost, nor recognise the service provided by volunteers serving as first responders to emergency situations for the remainder of the year."

Cr Porter said both clubs were exempt from general rates but that no concessions or donations in lieu had previously been provided for service charges levied on the property which was leased to them.

She said the degree of voluntary community service provided by surf clubs warranted putting them in a different category to other sporting groups, being more in line with other volunteer emergency services such as Rural Fire Brigades and the State Emergency Service.

"By granting a "donation in lieu" on the full rate for water and sewerage service charges for the surf club properties, these community groups will benefit in a similar way to sporting clubs that access the full 2000kl water consumption rebate under the water concession policy," Cr Porter said.

"This will also recognise the role these clubs play in emergency services and responses."