Locals demand end to coast guard lock out


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Locals are demanding an end to the local coast guard lock out. This sign can be seen near the base at Dicksons Inlet. IMAGE: Newsport.
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THE community has thrown its full support behind a move by local marine volunteers to join Marine Rescue Australia.

Members of Queensland Flotilla 10 have been locked out of the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association’s (AVCGA) base in Port Douglas since flagging the intended shift.

More than 80 people attended a meeting in Mossman on Tuesday night where a unanimous motion was passed backing the transition. Douglas Shire Mayor Julia was in attendance as were officials from the AVCGA’s state squadron.

“Our intention was a peaceful transition where we continue to provide support for the community,” former QF10 commander Ross Wood said.

“That’s the main reason we’re doing this, we didn’t want any disruption yet they’ve caused a massive disruption by doing this.”

The local group has asked Mayor Leu and Council to provide the ‘maximum possible support’ by asking the Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Mark Ryan, to resolve the dispute.

A coast guard boat from Cairns, the QF9, will be used in emergency during the standoff potentially forcing people to wait for hours for help.

The AVCGA has frozen all assets - including financial - of the QF10 claiming it's a constitutional right during a transfer of a unit to another Blue Water Association.

“As it stands, we haven’t resigned from the coast guard yet and we aren’t yet members of the Marine Rescue Australia,” Wood said.

“All we wanted was a peaceful transition and to be able to keep providing the service for the boating community.

“The next step is trying to get the Minister involved. We’re hoping the Minister will tell the coast guard to reinstate us and give us access back to the building so we can continue to provide support.

"Then, at the same time, we can work out the transition process."

The QF10 believe they will have more autonomy and fundraising power under Marine Rescue Australia and better training opportunities for members.

At the time of publication the AVCGA could not be contacted for comment.

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