Coast Guard gives qualified support to integration plan

RMA

The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard (AVCG) confirmed today its commitment to work co-operatively with the Queensland Government to merge Queensland’s various marine search and rescue organisations into a single service.

But AVCG National Commodore Mr Terry Langford said the group’s support was in-principle only, given the state government had not yet released any implementation details.

“Once the government produces its implementation plan, the AVCG board will review it in detail and provide a formal response,” he said.

“The consultation process has been going on since February 2019 on the Blue Water Review and an interim Working Group (BWIWG) was formed in March this year. We now need a set of milestones on the draft concept of operations so all parties can chart the way forward for the single integrated service.”

Mr Langford said it was critical for the AVCG to ensure the Queensland government paid “fair market value for AVCG assets”.

“AVCG directors have a legal obligation to safeguard the organisation’s assets,” he said. “This is settled law and the directors fully intend to comply with this obligation.”

The State government has committed to funding $17.383 million over the next four years for the replacement of volunteer marine rescue vessels. However, the AVCG’s assets also include a range of associated equipment.

Mr Langford said the AVCG also had an obligation to look after the interests of its members, most of whom were volunteers.

He said AVCG would expect to play an active role in the proposed integration.

“As operator of the largest marine search and rescue organisation in the eastern states, AVCG has the expertise to define the best interests of Queensland’s boating public.”

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