ACTION CALL: Ousted Tin Can Bay Coast Guard commander Philip Feldman is not the only one demanding answers.
ACTION CALL: Ousted Tin Can Bay Coast Guard commander Philip Feldman is not the only one demanding answers. Renee Albrecht

Marine rescue services in crisis

IF QUEENSLAND'S vital marine rescue services had wheels, there seems little doubt they would be falling off, especially at Tin Can Bay.

There and at Mooloolaba, the volunteers who keep the life saving service running and the supporters who keep it financially afloat are increasingly estranged from the privately controlled organisations that seem to make the decisions.

Many volunteers say they are only still on duty because they care about the safety of the public.

And the Queensland Government is pressing ahead with a further review of the rescue services it partly funds, along with the contributions from members of the public.

The Government is promising action on its recently delivered review of marine rescue services, which has uncovered serious volunteer concerns about financial and administrative issues.

The publicly funded service is managed by two competing private organisations, Volunteer Marine Rescue Association Queensland and Tin Can Bay's governing manager, the Australian Volunteer Coastguard Association.

The review by ex-Navy commodore Campbell Darby refers to concerns among members of both organisations, including claims of a lack of financial and management transparency.

Those concerns were no news to Tin Can Bay and Mooloolaba volunteers, but the recognition of them at a government level was, according to sacked former Tin Can Bay commander Phil Feldman, who is currently taking the AVCG to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal, over what he says was an unjust dismissal.

He says that decision followed his questioning of management issues very much like those raised in the Campbell Darby review.

Minister Craig Crawford has announced a further investigation, with particular reference to the views of volunteers, but the Opposition's Lachlan Millar says action is needed immediately.