Mon. Dec 16th, 2019

Beach Safety and the Law Summit

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The Inaugural Beach Safety and the Law Summit was held recently at
the Marriott Resort on the Gold Coast. Jointly hosted by Surf Life Saving
Australia (SLSA) and the Queensland Law Society, and supported by the
Queensland Government and Southern Cross University, the summit saw
more than 100 people, ranging from legal experts to local government
lifeguard supervisors, gather for two days to discuss legal developments
and ways to improve coastal safety standards.
A series of papers from practitioners including Justice M.A. McMurdo AC,
President, Queensland Court of Appeal and Justice A.G. Whealy, NSW
Supreme Court made it clear that the success of the recent round of tort
law reforms did not absolve organisations involved in coastal safety from
the responsibility of minimising risk.
Justice McMurdo said it was important to regularly review obligations and
any systems relating to beach safety, taking into account the size of the
risk, the degree of the probability of it occurring and the expense, diffi culty,
and inconvenience of taking alleviating action. “Regular monitoring and
refi nement of obligations and systems, taking into account all the ever
changing circumstances, is essential,” she said. “Knowing how to most
effectively communicate safety information to beach users so that they can
enjoy the beach is essential. Stakeholders must make beach users aware
of inherent dangers so that they can take informed personal responsibility
for their own safety without endangering others.”
Speaking at the conclusion of the Summit, SLSA CEO, Brett Williamson
OAM said that it was clear that a uniform set of coastal safety guidelines
was a critical factor in further reducing the rate of coastal drowning and
injury. “A number of speakers touched on emerging legal issues in relation
to beach safety, such as crime prevention, surveillance and privacy issues,
the increasing use of our coast by people with culturally and linguistically
diverse backgrounds and overseas visitors, as well as the impact of climate
change,” he said. “It is clear that all stakeholders need to keep abreast of
all developments to ensure the best outcomes in terms of risk management
of coastal safety.”
Thanks also to the Queensland Law Society and QUT for their support in
the staging of the Summit. A full set of papers will be available for interested
stakeholders shortly.
More information Mo Contact your Surf Life Saving state centre

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