Breaking News:

New home for marine emergency services in Cairns

Cairns will be home to the state’s first Marine Operations Base with Queensland Water Police, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association QF9 Cairns and the soon to be established Marine Rescue Queensland regional operations coming under one roof alongside Maritime Safety Queensland.

The large, on water shared space will enable streamlined sharing of resources and knowledge and better coordination between Queensland’s marine rescue services.

Water Police and marine rescue entities will all be housed in the same building under a new plan to streamline services in Cairns and the Far North.

Cairns Water Police along with QF9 Cairns and the future Marine Rescue Queensland (MRQ) regional centre will be co-located at a large office space as part of the Cairns Marine Operations Base.

The Queensland Government is currently delivering one of the most significant bodies of change to the state’s disaster and emergency management system, which includes the establishment of Marine Rescue Queensland.

MRQ will bring together Australian Volunteer Coast Guard and Volunteer Marine Rescue and will continue to their outstanding tradition of protecting Queenslanders on our oceans and waterways. Numerous units are expected to join Marine Rescue Queensland over the next 12 months, as the Marine Rescue Implementation Program work through a phased approach to bring marine rescue services together across the State.

Under the new agreement, Water Police, QF9 Cairns and MRQ will soon be located under the same roof in Cairns, enabling a streamlined approach to service the increased demand and allow the ability to better share equipment, resources and knowledge.

Minister for Police and Community Safety Mark Ryan said “It is a pleasure to announce the future home of marine rescue services in Cairns.

“Having Cairns Water Police, QF9 Cairns Coast Guard and the future Marine Rescue Queensland at the same location will see a more streamlined approach to operations in the Far North.

“The fit-for-purpose facility, is the ideal solution to meet future operational requirements, including the increased demand in the area and shared resourcing.”

Minister Ryan today also announced QF9 Cairns will receive a new marine rescue vessel under the state government’s vessel replacement program.

The new vessel will replace QF9 Cairns’ aging secondary vessel, enhancing marine rescue capability and ensuring a more modern, safe and responsive service to the Cairns community.

The 7.5m hard collared rescue vessel will undertake sea trials in March, with anticipated delivery to QF9 Cairns in April 2024.

“The Queensland Government is proud to invest the $22.3 million into updating replacing marine search and rescue vessels,” Minister Ryan said.

Commissioner, Queensland Police Service, Katarina Carroll said “The Queensland Police Service is excited to welcome Marine Rescue Queensland into our organisation.

“By putting our Cairns Water Police and our Cairns MRQ members under the same roof, we will be able to continue to deliver high calibre services and meet the communities’ expectations across our waterways into the future.

“Modern vessels for our dedicated marine rescue volunteers provide enhanced capability to keep Queenslander’s safe on the water.

“Due to the increase of population and demand, it is essential that we maintain our facilities and services with the latest equipment and technology to help our officers and our marine partners best serve and protect their communities.”

Tony Wulff, Marine Rescue Queensland Chief Officer said “Creating Queensland’s first-ever Marine Rescue Queensland acknowledges the commitment and dedication of volunteers and reinforces the importance of supporting them with resources and equipment to ensure they can continue their valuable lifesaving work.

“By setting up the regional office MRQ, and co-locating with Queensland Water Police, will ensure we are ready to support in Far North Queensland when we launch later in the year.”

Terry Langford, National Commodore, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard said“Australian Volunteer Coast Guard’s Cairns Flotilla is looking forward to sharing our new home base with the Queensland Water Police. The new shared facility will allow us to enhance our working relationship with Water Police and supports the establishment of Marine Rescue Queensland.”

“We are excited to receive a replacement secondary vessel and would like to thank the Queensland government for the opportunity to modernise our rescue vessel fleet, ensuring QF9’s ability to provide responsive marine rescue services to our community.”