Coast Guard row rocks boat
OUSTED Tin Can Bay Coast Guard commander Phil Feldman says he wants justice for himself and a full financial investigation of its management body, the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard organisation.
Mr Feldman yesterday posted a thick file of documents to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, starting a process which he hopes will lead to his re-instatement.
His notified list of witnesses includes Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford and Gympie MP Tony Perrett, as well as several senior Queensland coast guard officials.
In his appeal documents, Mr Feldman says he has been punished "in reprisal for legitimate claims regarding state and national boards of the AVCG for irregular practices in management, fiscal procedures, conflict of interest, bullying, harassment of members, breach of constitution and by-laws and refusal of natural justice”.
AVCG administrators have responded that Mr Feldman was removed for refusing to carry out lawful instructions, something Mr Feldman denies.
Mr Feldman has denied allegations that he failed to meet deadlines for legally required safety management reports, saying this is a contrived excuse for getting rid of him as a "whistleblower”.
The Tin Can Bay Coast Guard has been at the centre of a confusing series of administrative actions, including a short-lived grounding the the Bay flotilla because of claims its boats had not been subject to a required Safety Management System report.
Sunshine Coast Squadron Commodore John Milland confirmed this was the case and warned that skippers putting to sea would risk prosecution, before re-instating it under a replacement commander, before then expelling Mr Feldman from the organisation altogether
It has since offered Mr Feldman a chance to appeal to a meeting of the national board over questions of natural justice. But Mr Feldman says the board includes the people who denied him justice in the first place and has therefore taken it to the QCAT process.