Minister Punch w President of SLSWA cutting the ribbon at the official opening of the SW Development Centre.

After more than three years in the making, Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) has revealed its new regional training and development facility, located in the heart of Margaret River.

The Surf Life Saving WA South West Development Centre, located on the site that formerly housed the Margaret River Backpackers, was officially opened this morning by the Honourable Don Punch MLA, Minister for Regional Development, Disability Services; Fisheries; Seniors and Ageing; and Volunteering.

“I’m proud of Surf Life Saving’s long tradition of keeping beachgoers safe and supporting young people to learn the value of volunteering.” Said Minister Punch.

“This new Development Centre will support and expand the great work Surf Life Saving WA does in our south west and right across the State.

“This is a fantastic facility for Surf Life Saving’s members and dedicated volunteers in the Margaret River region. It will also benefit the wider community now and into the future.”

Purchased back in 2020, there were significant delays in work due to COVID. In 2021, a Lotterywest grant of up to $867K was provided to assist in the construction of the Centre and, following substantial redevelopment, including upgrades and replacement of existing facilities, the property now caters for up to 100 people in lodge-style accommodations.

Lotterywest and Healthway CEO Ralph Addis said the new training facility is critical to supporting the training and development of essential volunteers.

“Surf Life Saving WA volunteers play an important role that cannot be understated, and Lotterywest is proud to support this boost towards enhanced training which will in turn keep our community safe,” Mr Addis said.

“This grant seeks to harness volunteer sustainability, and improve water safety programs, first aid courses and beach rescue services.

“We truly are a lucky state having several iconic beaches at our front door, however it’s the fantastic work of Surf Life Saving WA and it’s many volunteers that makes it possible for Western Australians to be safe while enjoying the water throughout the year.”

On the redevelopment, SLSWA President Craig Smith-Gander AM said the property provides facilities, including recreation, training, equipment storage, and administration spaces conducive to its purpose as a member-focused facility for development and engagement activities.

“The opening of the Centre is the realisation of our organisation’s strategic intent to support regional development, volunteer development, and provide an exceptional facility to deliver amazing experiences for our clubs and members,” said Mr Smith Gander.

“As one of WA’s premier coastal tourism destinations and home to six of our surf life saving clubs, the south west is a very important region for surf life saving and offers considerable potential for growth, both in terms of local membership and state level activities.”

“With the facility now open, we already have local clubs booking for a range of activities. In December, we look forward to welcoming attendees of the Word Conference on Drowning Prevention, to be held in Perth, to the Centre as part of the conference program, and we are excited to host our popular Youth Development Camps, at the Centre over the summer holidays.”

“In the future, we also look forward to the facility being available for local community use”.