COMMENT: Closing Marine Rescue tower puts lives at risk

THE "leaning tower" of Ballina, otherwise known as the marine rescue tower, is about to close because it is too dangerous.

This will effectively put lives at risk.

While volunteers will continue to monitor radio communications they won't be able to see out across Ballina's treacherous bar.

This comes at a particularly bad time as the summer boating season is about to get into full swing.

And let's not forget we've had a major problem with sharks off the coast of Ballina in recent months, so this is no time to muck around with people's safety.

At last count, local and state governments, plus the volunteers themselves, had pledged or raised a total of just over $1.5 million.

That leaves another $600,000 to $700.000 to be raised from somewhere and I am looking firmly at the Federal Government in Canberra.

If I were local Page MP Kevin Hogan I would be getting my mate Barnaby Joyce and Warren Truss to have a word in newly elevated prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's ear.

Make it a "must do" project to fund as part of any rebooted agreement for the Coalition to continue.

While you have the Liberals over a barrel, better to ask for some more pork.

After all, it was Kevin Hogan and Barnaby Joyce who were pictured at the marine rescue tower making promises during the 2010 election.

The tower was leaning then and it is still leaning now, to the point where it is now too dangerous for the volunteers to occupy.

This is a major safety issue for the Northern Rivers and no amount of political spin is going to do the trick.

The Northern Star will campaign strongly for its replacement.