North Stradbroke VMR want corporate sponsor to replace main supporter sand miner Sibelco

HELP NEEDED: North Stradbroke Island Volunteer Marine Rescue need another corporate sponsor to help cover operational costs.
HELP NEEDED: North Stradbroke Island Volunteer Marine Rescue need another corporate sponsor to help cover operational costs.

NORTH Stradbroke Island’s Volunteer Marine Rescue are looking for another corporate sponsor to help keep their operations afloat, as sand miner Sibelco prepares to leave the island.

Base spokesman Richard Dunn said Sibelco had been the base’s biggest supporter for the past eight years, helping to cover operational costs.

But the sand miner’s sponsorship agreement with the base will expire on June 30 next year, when sand mining is stopped.

“They have helped us immeasurably,” he said.

Last year, North Stradbroke Island VMR conducted 122 medical evacuations and were called out 48 times for water assists.

The base is currently fundraising to cover costs of a replacement vessel, which is due for delivery later this year.

The 10.8-metre rigid inflatable boat was painted earlier this week and will include space for an ambulance stretcher.

Mr Dunn said businesses that wanted to support the Straddie VMR could have signage put up at the base and company logos sewn onto volunteer uniforms.

Sibelco regional operations manager Doug Paton said the company had supported more than 30 community groups linked to North Stradbroke Island, including the VMR.

“As mining ceases in 2019, this will be the last year that Sibelco will be able to provide support for the North Stradbroke VMR and other North Stradbroke Island groups that Sibelco continues to support,” Mr Paton said.

“We believe the VMR plays a vital role in the local community and hope another sponsor can be found quickly so this essential service can continue.”

Volunteer Marine Rescue operations and Coast Guard services are currently being reviewed by the state government.

About $3.2 million in funding from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services is shared between the two volunteer organisations every year.

Service agreements for both are due to expire in June next year, with retired Royal Australian Navy Commodore Campbell Darby assessing the search and research capabilities of both organisations and their operations.

Both organisations rely heavily on the efforts of volunteers to raise funds, rally sponsorships and seek grants for projects like vessel replacement. 

It was revealed last year that Volunteer Marine Rescue Queensland faced huge insurance excess costs if another event like ex-Cyclone Debbie were to hit.

The $100,000 excess threatened to deplete the organisation’s operational funds if two or more named events hit in close succession and if indemnity could not be provided by the state government.

North Stradbroke Volunteer Marine Rescue is at 2 Yabby Street, Dunwich. Phone them on 3409 9338.

To donate, visit givenow.com.au/vmrnsi.