EXPELLED: Phil Feldman, pictured in his former role as Tin Can Bay Coast Guard commander, says he will take the organisation to court if necessary over the use of public and donated money.
EXPELLED: Phil Feldman, pictured in his former role as Tin Can Bay Coast Guard commander, says he will take the organisation to court if necessary over the use of public and donated money. Renee Albrecht

Still afloat: vital marine rescue service survives, for now

TIN Can Bay's troubled coast guard service will be fully operational throughout the holiday season, despite internal ructions that threaten its future.

At the same time, a State Government review of the service has been completed and will be made public in the new year.

Expelled former Tin Can Bay Coast Guard commander Phil Feldman says he will be taking the organisation to court if necessary over issues which he says include the use of government and publicly donated money.

But he says all parties, including the government, volunteers and now the coast guard's private management organisation have committed themselves to keeping the vital life-saving service in the water.

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said a review of Queensland's blue water rescue services had been completed by ex-Navy Commodore Campbell Darby.

It would probably be released to the public in the next few weeks, he said.

"It very much captures the sentiments of all the volunteer members up and down the coast, the Volunteer Marine Rescue (volunteers) and the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard members,” Mr Crawford said. "I think the volunteers will get a lot out of it.

"He hasn't made recommendations, but he has made observations, which is easier for us.

"What I want to do is sit down with those involved early in the new year, including representatives of all flotillas and squadrons up and down the coast, and ask them what they want to do.

"He's (Commodore Darby) picked up on the frustrations Tin Can Bay raised, including their relations with their governing body.”

Mr Feldman said some Tin Can Bay volunteers had threatened to resign, but he had urged them to keep the service operational.

He claimed to have been denied fairness in action taken against him, with no opportunity to contest claims he submitted allegedly non-compliant paperwork and breached internal rules by communicating with responsible politicians, including Mr Crawford.

That meant he was being punished for being a "whistleblower”.

Mr Feldman said he was concerned about travel perks and training expenditure, much of it funded by volunteers, local community supporters and the State Government.

He said he would take the matter to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal if necessary.

Gympie Times


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