Grant Kenny.
Grant Kenny. Bob Gould

Furore over lifesaving funds after board resignations

THE decision by the board of the main funding arm of Surf Life Saving Australia to resign has raised significant concerns about the use of money donated by the community, Sunshine Coast ironman legend Grant Kenny said yesterday.

The resignations raise questions about the implementation of a 2012 Deloitte report about the structure of the Surf Life Saving Foundation and its relationship with Surf Life Saving Australia. At issue are claims that volunteer lifesavers and clubs are not receiving the support they require, while the governing body consumes massive corporate and government sponsorship.

"To have such an esteemed group of business and community leaders feel the need to take such a cohesive and drastic action raises significant concerns, particularly given it relates to funds raised from the community,'' Mr Kenny said.

Yesterday, SLSA president Graham Ford and Surf Life Saving Foundation chairman Martin Walsh jointly expressed their full confidence in SLSA and SLSF management teams, including SLSA CEO Brett Williamson.

"Last year SLSA and SLSF jointly commissioned accounting and advisory firm Deloitte to carry out an independent review of their fundraising operations.

"The purpose of this review was to identify opportunities to improve efficiencies, reduce operating costs and maximise the collective capacity to raise much-needed revenue for the movement," they said.

"The Deloitte review assessed the key areas of revenue raising, structure, strategy, culture, communication, roles and responsibilities as well as processes and risk management.

"SLSA and SLSF have accepted the findings of the Deloitte review and are working together to implement the recommendations in the report. One of the key recommendations included establishing a structure in which all functions report to a single board."

SLSQ CEO John Brennan and SLSQ president Ralph Devlin also expressed full confidence in the SLSA and foundation management teams, including Mr Williamson.

Surf Life Saving Australia attracts $37 million annually in government grants and sponsorship, none of which filters down to clubs which resource their own volunteers, train them and raise their own money to support patrols. The national body employs 60 people.