Explosive allegations levelled at Qld Surf Lifesaving
POLICE have been called by Queensland Surf Life Saving in the wake of explosive allegations including a lifesaver being drunk on duty, sexual harassment and staffers getting kickbacks from suppliers.
The allegations have been made in a long letter of complaint from an anonymous person claiming to "work in Surf Life Saving'' and signs off: "This is all true, I have paperwork, emails and taped telephone conversations''.
The letter accuses SLSQ's marketing division of being focused only on "stupid money spending agendas" and a key resources committee of being obsessed with surf sports.
SLSQ has told the Bulletin it views the document as a "threat''.
The letter, viewed by SLSQ's board, alleges:
. Incompetence by senior officials leading to "horrific turmoil with constant infighting".
. Pay-offs from suppliers to staff for purchases of surf equipment.
. Sexual harassment.
. Falsification of lifesaving awards like bronze medals.
. Forging of budgets to make some services look unprofitable to boost other areas of spending.
. A cover-up of a complaint about an official who was drunk while on duty.
Acting CEO Kris Beavis, when approached by the Bulletin, responded: "Surf Life Saving Queensland received a threatening letter from an anonymous individual on Friday 2 February, 2019. The board has been made aware of this threat.''
Police were consulted.
The whistleblower branded the state's life saving committee, which allocates safety equipment to dangerous beaches, as "out of touch" and only interested in surf sports.
The marketing department was described as having "its own private agenda" and staffers not having any beach patrol experience.
The marketing staff were "more interested in stupid money spending agendas".
The Bulletin in a recent report highlighted how volunteers were furious after a $310,000 grant by the State Government was spent on trialling Wi-Fi between the flags without consulting Gold Coast clubbies.
SLSQ faced instability with long-time chief executive officer John Brennan standing down and chief operating officer George Hill having left last October.
The Bulletin asked several questions of SLSQ, including had the board received the recent letter, would there be an internal review and what assurances could be given to volunteers that the integrity of the volunteer safety movement remained intact.
"Due to the unsubstantiated claims contained within the letter, we are taking the matter extremely seriously and have consulted the Queensland Police Service. Further, as the commentary is also highly defamatory, legal advice is being sought,'' Kris Beavis said.
"Surf Life Saving Queensland's fundamental principle is to save lives and despite recent senior staffing changes, our core focus remains on protecting the community.
"I am personally committed to ensuring continuous improvement across all areas of our operation as we work towards zero preventable deaths in Queensland public waters."
The document viewed by the SLSQ board said the allegations had also been sent to the Bulletin, surf life saving clubs, sponsors, government departments and the Queensland Police Service.
Senior lifesaving sources said members aware of the allegations were seeking an internal inquiry, which would need to be followed by a cultural review.
"There needs to be assurance from the new CEO to right the ship," a lifesaving source said.