Rescue Services a long and happy marriage By Brett Williamson, ceo surf Life Saving Australia (slsa)

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Rescue Services

A long and happy marriage

By Brett Williamson, CEO Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA)

Australia’s surf lifesavers have been watching over the country’s beaches for one hundred years and in that time have rescued more than 520,000 people. As one of the country’s largest volunteer organisations, we depend heavily upon support from the corporate sector to provide everything from basic rescue gear and first aid equipment to organisational development programs.

We are delighted that Westpac has expanded its existing relationship with Surf Life Saving to become a major corporate partner nationally. There is a strong connection between our two organisations.

Both have a long heritage and community focus underpinned by Australian values such as trust, honesty, health and family.

The relationship between Westpac and Surf Life Saving in Australia is the most durable in the history of surf lifesaving. It began in Sydney in 1973, with the sponsorship of the nation’s first rescue helicopter service, by the then Bank of New South Wales. This relationship with rescue services then extended to Surf Life Saving Queensland in 1976.

Since then, it has grown to include support of Life Saver Rescue helicopter services operated by SLSA’s subsidiaries in Sydney and Lismore - collectively operating under the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter name, as well as similar services in Queensland and

South Australia, fixed-wing aircraft in Victoria and the latest rescue equipment in Tasmania. I also know that Westpac supports the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service in the Hunter and New England regions of NSW and a rescue helicopter through the Tasmanian Air Rescue Trust. The most recent evolution of this relationship will see Westpac at the heart of our Surf Life Saving organisation.

As major sponsor of the Year of the Surf Lifesaver in 2007, Westpac is involved in commemorating the rich history of surf lifesaving in Australia. Westpac is also contributing to the development of the next generation of surf lifesavers with their sponsorship of our state junior Surf Life Saving Championships.

I know I speak on behalf of the entire surf lifesaving movement when I say that we’re looking forward to continuing to work closely with Westpac to achieve mutual goals and I applaud the company for its commitment to saving lives.

In Westpac we have found a truly unique corporate partner. Not only are they prepared to commit in a fi nancial capacity but their employees’ commitment to community involvement is commendable.”

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