Surf Life Saving Australia’s (SLSA) services to the community and its members are valued at an estimated $6.5 billion per year to the Australian economy.
The new report by Deloitte Access Economics shows “The services and cooperation of Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) around the country – both now and in the future – show for every $1 invested into SLSA, a return of $20 is achieved.”
SLSA President Graham Ford AM said the report demonstrated the social and economic value volunteer surf lifesavers and Australian Lifeguard Services lifeguards provide to the Australian community.
“With 300 million beach goers visiting the Australian coastline every year, our surf lifesavers and lifeguards are vitally important, last season alone performing 10,000 rescues.
“The Deloitte’s report estimates that the absence of surf life saving services would result in an additional 1,300 coastal deaths and 800 critical injuries every year,” said Ford.
For more than 110 years, Surf Life Saving has played an important role and is more than just a rescue organisation. Surf Life Saving services have grown over the decades to provide strong social and economic value to the Australian community.
“We provide education and training to everyday Australians, help keep people physically active, encourage and promote volunteerism and deliver real social value to local communities across the country.
“The report also identified three additional benefits SLSA provides to our communities that couldn’t be quantified but we know are so important, including improved mental health, providing positive pathways for young people as well as water safety for children.
“As our country navigates through COVID-19, our sense of community and connecting with our great coastal environment will become even more important.
“Surf Life Saving Clubs are not only important for our 170,000 members, but they are at the centre of local communities and are a hub for all those enjoying our beaches,” he said.
SLSA’s National Coastal Safety Report demonstrates the need for increased water safety services, with an average of 110 coastal drowning deaths in Australia every year for the past 15 years.
The Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency David Hurley, said he was proud to serve as Patron of Surf Life Saving Australia.
“Surf Life Saving Australia provides a vital and, as this report shows, valuable service. In addition to helping reduce the number of drownings and teaching water safety skills, Surf Life Saving clubs are part of our nation’s cultural landscape. They bring people together and help instil the value of selfless service in emerging leaders.”
Federal Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck said the Australian Government is a proud supporter of Surf Life Saving Australia.
“The Deloitte report clearly articulates the critical role Surf Life Savers play to prevent more than a thousand avoidable and preventable deaths at Australian beaches,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Through our Water and Snow Safety Program, we have invested more than $20 million to support the efforts of Surf Life Saving Australia, which in turn supports communities around our nation.
“I thank the vast volunteer base for a commitment to keeping Australians and international visitors safe on our beaches.”