Pilbara Ports has committed $200,000 to Marine Rescue Port Hedland to support the establishment of a new training centre and operations base. In a statement released last Wednesday, the group said Marine Rescue Port Hedland played an important role in keeping the local community safe. “The volunteer group also supports port operations, by assisting recreational boat users who experience breakdowns or emergency situations within the busy bulk export port,” the statement said. Pilbara Ports’ funding contribution led the way for industry collaboration, with a total of $2.1 million being pledged by local industry. Pilbara Ports chief executive Samuel McSkimming said the funding contribution was an opportunity to give back to an organisation that played a vital role in the local community. “Marine Rescue Port Hedland helps keep recreational boaters in the area safe, an invaluable service for the community which also allows the port to continue operating,” he said. “I’m proud to say more than 10 of our team members also volunteer with Marine Rescue throughout the Pilbara, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to give back to an organisation that is deeply embedded in our community. “It’s promising to see Marine Rescue Port Hedland receiving contributions from industry and government organisations and we hope to see the new facility up and running soon.” MRPH commander Zac Slaughter welcomed the funding and said it was pivotal to construct a new state-of-the-art emergency services facility. “This ensures that Marine Rescue Port Hedland can continue its critical role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our community in emergency situations,” he said. The funding comes after a decision by the Town of Port Hedland in November to endorse a new parcel of land close to the Spoilbank Marina for the group’s operations base. At the meeting, town councillors voted not to support a downgrading of the heritage status of the current marine rescue base to make way for renovations, opting instead to endorse an alternate site for a new facility. It followed years of campaigning by Cdr Slaughter for upgrades to the existing facility, at lots 55, 56 and 57 McKay Street, which contains one of just four original buildings left within the historic urban area of town and was the original state school for the town, built in 1906. In a move to preserve the site’s history, town councillors endorsed lots 343, 344, 345 and 346 Kingsmill Street for the new base.