Staff stood down after SLSQ club scandals
A WAVE of sackings has occurred at Queensland Surf Life Saving following allegations of a sex tape scandal on the Gold Coast and targeting of a whistleblower on the Sunshine Coast.
The Bulletin in a report on the weekend revealed a whistleblower who reported the illegal filming of female lifesavers while they were in the shower room has been denied a renewal of his membership at his surf club.
Surf Life Saving Queensland refused to answer questions about a separate investigation into the sharing of a video featuring a sexual act between teenage girl and older boy, both Gold Coast clubbies.
A Coast surf source told the Bulletin: "They have stood down five people. There could be as many as eight. People are ringing around each other saying "do I have a job".
The Bulletin understands the staffers at Brisbane headquarters were advised on Monday afternoon and branch officials later alerted about the staff changes.
In an email sent later that afternoon, senior members were told: "Regrettably, Surf Life Saving Queensland today offered redundancies to staff members within the administration areas of corporate services and communications, partnerships and community divisions."
"Due to the consultation period with these staff, we cannot disclose the names of those impacted at this point in time. All individuals have been advised and are being supported as part of the process.
"The decision was part of a change program which is being delivered to ensure a more efficient and effective business operation.
"More than 12 months ago an organisational-wide review commenced to examine the structure of the organisation and a change program was initiated.
"Our thoughts are with the staff members affected and their families, and we will continue to do all we can to support those impacted."
But a club source told the Bulletin the changes had been sparked by a backlash from members furious about the complaints process, the lack of transparency and follow through on investigations.
"Gold Coast members are saying what's happening with the club investigation here about the young girl? There was a feeling it (lack of action) was going to backfire on them. It just all built up with the Sunshine Coast situation," the source said.
In March, clubbies told the Bulletin the sex tape, which allegedly featured a 15-year-old female unaware she had been filmed, should have been referred to police.
A month prior, separate allegations surfaced about a Gold Coast lifesaver being drunk on duty, sexual harassment and staff receiving kickbacks from suppliers.
The latest retrenchments following mass changes at the top with chief operating officer George Hill leaving last October and CEO John Brennan stood down in January. Long-serving financial officer Richard Murphy departed in November.
A surf spokesperson in a statement today said: "SLSQ would like to stress that operations will continue as normal across all patrolled locations, including current lifeguard services across the state, surf rescue helicopter services and our volunteer patrols in North Queensland."
"The safety of beachgoers is our utmost priority as we continue to work towards our mission.
"These departures were not connected to the current changes, or the complaints from members."