The total value to the Australian economy of Surf Life Saving’s coastal drowning and injury prevention efforts in 2009/10 is an estimated $3.6 billion.
This is the key finding of a new report by PwC launched today at Parliament House by the Minister for Sport, Senator Mark Arbib.
The PwC report, “What is the economic contribution of Surf Life Saving in Australia”, also found that for every $1 invested by government, sponsors and the community into Surf Life Saving’s drowning and injury prevention services the cost benefit ratio is 29:1.
“Last year our surf lifesavers and lifeguards completed 12,000 rescues across Australia. This year, that figure increased to 14,000,” said Brett Williamson OAM, CEO of Surf Life Saving Australia.
“Australians already recognise Surf Life Saving as an iconic organisation that is the nation’s major beach and coastal water safety authority.
“The key findings of the PwC report will provide an even better understanding of the enormous contribution of our surf lifesavers each year, to make our beaches safer places to enjoy.”
The PwC report states, “The benefits of Surf Life Saving far outweigh the costs, further proving its unique and significant value to the Australian community and economy.”
In the absence of Surf Life Saving’s core water safety services in 2009/10, PwC estimates there would have been:
– 596 additional drowning deaths
– 555 additional permanent incapacitations
– 2,591 additional minor injuries or first aid treatments.
The recently released SLSA National Coastal Safety Report demonstrates the need for increased water safety services, having reported an average of 89 coastal drowning deaths in Australia every year for the past seven years.
“Australia’s beaches remain the country’s largest playground with more than 100 million visitations every year,” Mr Williamson said.
“With rising coastal populations and international visitor numbers, keeping people safe in the water is an increasingly difficult challenge.
“It is a tribute to the dedication and skill of our volunteers that they are able to save so many lives, prevent so many injuries and make such an important contribution to the nation.”
Mr Williamson said SLSA would include the key findings of the PwC report in its proposal to the Government for the establishment of an Australian Beach Safety Fund.
Report Snapshot: What is the Economic contribution of Surf Life Saving in Australia
– Surf Life Saving’s water safety efforts are estimated to be worth $3.6 billion to Australia each year.
– In the absence of Surf Life Saving’s water safety activities last year it is estimated almost 600 extra people would have lost their lives on our beaches.
– Over 70% of SLSA members volunteer more than 3 hours a week during the summer. 50% patrol between 3 and 10 hours a week. Almost 25% donate in excess of 10 hours.
– For every $1 invested by government, sponsors and the community into Surf Life Saving’s drowning and injury prevention services, the benefits are equal to approximately $29.
Surf Life Saving Australia – Key Facts*
Who are we?
– Surf Life Saving Australia is Australia’s major beach safety and lifesaving authority and the largest volunteer water safety organisation in the world.
– Australia’s first volunteer Surf Life Saving Clubs appeared on Sydney’s ocean beaches in 1907. SLSA has evolved into an organisation that today has:
– 311 clubs throughout Australia
– Around 70 support services (jet boats, offshore boats, rescue water craft)
– 158,806 members
– 9 Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Services
– 55 professional lifeguard / contract services
Why we exist?
– To save lives, create great Australians and build better communities.
What we do?
– Perform around 14,000 rescues, administer 67,500 first aid treatments and undertake 734,000 preventative actions every year.
– Conduct public safety campaigns targeting areas known for rip currents and rock fishing to try to ensure that those who use our beaches know how to stay out of danger.
– Since our establishment just over a century ago and the central collection of statistical records, it is estimated we have saved more than 600,000 lives on Australian beaches and coastal areas to date.
– Encourage and support volunteerism in the community
Who we protect?
– An estimated 100 million beach visitors per year
– 80 per cent of Australians who go to the beach at least once a year
– 10 per cent of Australians who visit a beach weekly or more frequently
– 20 per cent of Australians who get into difficulty at the beach.