Bendigo banks on safe beaches

The Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol will take to the Illawarra's skies for another busy summer from December 15.

Traditionally, the service surveyed the coast only on weekends and public holidays, but this season patrols will run every day of the school holidays.

Bendigo Bank yesterday announced it had renewed its sponsorship of the aerial patrol, in conjunction with six Community Bank branches.

Oak Flats Community Bank chairman Geoff Egan said the renewal "will assist the Aerial Patrol to continue its vital service to the communities along the southern NSW coast from Stanwell Park to Mollymook".

"Not only has this service proved important as an early warning system for shark spotting, it has also been used to monitor general recreational activities on water and land and as an early detection of bushfires to help ensure the safety and welfare of locals and tourists alike."

Aerial Patrol general manager Harry Mitchell said the service had developed strong links with Bendigo Bank.

"This is indeed an important cash injection in recognition of a valuable service to the recreational community; a service that continues to be overlooked by successive state governments," he said.

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