Libs Pledge $7.5m for VBOSS Training Centre

By September 26, 2022 April 10th, 2024 No Comments

Apollo Bay’s proposed Victorian Blue Ocean Safety Skills (VBOSS) surf education centre has received a $7.5m funding commitment from the Victorian State Opposition.

The Apollo Bay Surf Life Saving Club welcomed Monday’s announcement by Shadow Emergency Services Victoria Minister Brad Battin and Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan.

The politicians visited the club and said the funds — to fully fund the redevelopment of the existing and crumbling ABSLSC building — are stage one of a two stage plan to fully realise the VBOSS vision for the ocean safety and awareness training centre capable of training 3000 students a year from across the State.

VBOSS spokesman David Gorrie said the commitment was a shot in the arm for the development of the centre that has been actively supported by both sides of politics.

“To date we’ve had a lot of verbal support — including from former Deputy Premier James Merlino who last year personally backed the need for the centre and endorsed the construction of group accommodation facilities on the Apollo Bay P12 College site — but no firm commitments on funding.

“Today’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction. It reinforces the fact that this is an initiative that needs to be funded as a matter of urgency and one that will save countless Victorian and Australian lives in the years to come.”

“With 339 lives lost by drowning nationwide in the last 12 months (a 25 year high) and 49 percent of coastal drowning deaths occurring more than 5km from a surf lifesaving service fostering greater ocean safety awareness through education in the community is now a critical issue for all governments,” he said.

Mr Gorrie said economic modeling by Colac Shire Council has forecast the creation of 70 jobs and a $32.8 million boost to regional Victoria from the VBOSS.

The $15.44m VBOSS centre is an initiative of the Apollo Bay Surf Life Saving Club (ABSLSC) and Apollo Bay P12 College and focused on harnessing the assets of a redeveloped surf club site and the construction of group accommodation facilities at the college.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]