WILD WATER: Volunteer Rescue Association members taking part in swift-water training on the Mann River.
WILD WATER: Volunteer Rescue Association members taking part in swift-water training on the Mann River. Paul McIntyre

Volunteers praise cash injection

FOR an organisation that has been used to surviving off the back of fundraising at Bunnings barbecues, a multi-million-dollar cash injection has been huge boost.

Volunteer Rescue Associations across NSW have been buoyed by an announcement by NSW Emergency Services minister Troy Grant of an additional $18.8 million in funding over the next four years.

Nymboida VRA captain Paul McIntyre said it was a welcome announcement which would hopefully lead to the new equipment for the organisation.

"I thank the NSW government because we need it, we are underfunded. It is the largest funding announcement ever and we are very grateful,” Mr McIntyre said.

"The VRA budget has had to be split between 54 units (and) went mostly towards insurance.”

Accredited by the Minister, the VRA is often a primary responder at road crashes, performing search and rescue operations and vertical and swift water rescues.

"We will often assist in vehicle recoveries, sometimes people will get stuck out in the bush and we will go and help them out.” he said

Mr McIntyre was particularly passionate about swift water rescue and encouraged people to get involved in the VRA, especially given the nature of waterways in the Clarence Valley.

"We like to be proactive and help skill people up in swift water rescue, so we conduct training at Nymboida Canoe Centre,” he said.

"We are always looking for new members, especially ones in the local area, because sometimes people have to travel long distances to help out.”

Mr Grant has said the funding would go towards new vehicles for regional NSW, and equipment and materials for a variety of rescue scenarios.

"These volunteers often perform rescues under very challenging conditions, so we want to do everything we can to ensure they're as safe as possible.”