Doug Eaton

Marine tower will remain closed until more funding is found

THE Ballina Marine Rescue tower responsible for saving countless lives will stay closed until the remaining $450,000 needed to build a safe tower can be found.

Neither the Federal nor State Governments have committed to delivering the additional funds needed to build the new $2.1m tower after the original was declared "unsafe" for volunteers.

So far, Ballina council has set aside $1m, the State Government has contributed $350,000 in funding from its Public Reserves Management Fund and the Volunteer Marine Rescue NSW has promised $200,000 in 2016/17.

Former Page MP Janelle Saffin and Nationals frontbencher Barnaby Joyce have both promised funding in the past. But Ms Saffin lost office shortly after making her commitment and then Senator Joyce's commitment was made during the 2010 election campaign, which the coalition lost.

Although the Federal Government has committed no funds to the project, Page MP Kevin Hogan said he understood the tower's importance and has worked with the Department of Infrastructure to obtain funding under the next round of the National Stronger Regions Fund.

The Northern Star made numerous attempts to contact Ballina MP Tamara Smith, however no calls were returned before deadline.

Ballina Mayor David Wright said construction on the new tower could begin as soon as the remaining $450,000 was sourced.

"All the plans are done, the DA is done, it just needs that (money) and we can start," he said. "It's not like we're after a fortune, and it's State Government infrastructure, it's on their land."

Cr Wright said he had recently spoken to Premier Mike Baird about the issue and was waiting for a reply.

The Premier's office was contacted for comment about the tower, however no reply was received.