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MEDIA RELEASE - GSWW receives emergency boost

7 September 2020

Walking along the Great South West Walk has just become a whole lot safer thanks to a new joint agency initiative.

A series of emergency markers have been installed along the Great South West Walk from Portland through to Nelson to help improve the response time and coordination by emergency service organisations.

The markers, positioned at key points along the 250km walking loop, will allow people to quote a unique number to 000, providing an exact location in the event of an emergency.

Glenelg Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee Chair Cr Karen Stephens said it was a significant project, with the markers potentially saving countless lives in the future.

“The Great South West Walk is one of the Glenelg Shire’s most iconic and loved natural attractions, showcasing the unique natural beauty of our region such as our tranquil forests, dramatic coastlines and rugged cliffs,” she said.

“Each year thousands of walkers from right across Australia visit the Shire to complete or undertake sections of this 250km walk. However, in the event of an emergency, many walkers are amidst unfamiliar territory and have difficultly providing an accurate location of rescue.

“This is why these new emergency markers are such a vital piece of infrastructure. Each emergency marker has a unique code which is linked to special navigational data to direct responders to that site.

“We are proud to see our local emergency agencies coming together for such a worthwhile project that will not only reduce response times, but potentially save countless lives.”

Brainchild behind the project and Ambulance Victoria representative Tony Oxford said it was a “fantastic” feeling to see the markers installed.

“The markers have been a decade long project – I initially considered the idea for the region 10 years ago,” he explained.

“Since then, similar markers have been used successfully at several locations across Victoria and there has been a significant improvement in the navigational data and technology available.”

“These successful examples provided the strong business case, and after 10 years it is quite momentous to see these markers dispersed along the Great South West Walk.”

A total of 36 markers have so far been installed along the Great South West Walk, with a remaining 80 to be completed by the end of the year.

The emergency markers are a joint initiative by Glenelg Shire Council, Parks Victoria, Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police, CFA and VIC SES.

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