Why Surf Life Saving Qld patrols at Rainbow could end
Skyrocketing costs could soon signal the end of Surf Life Saving Queensland’s time patrolling the Rainbow Beach coastline, as Gympie and neighbouring councils consider offering the job on the open market next year.
A report to be presented at Gympie Regional Council’s meeting next week asks councillors to endorse keeping SLSQ on the tourist town’s beaches for 2021–22, though it will cost almost $60,000 more than the figure paid this financial year.
The report states the cost of keeping SLSQ on patrol would be about $268,000, after the council paid the group about $208,000 for the service in 2020–21.
According to SLSQ, the price jump was the result of a review which found it was not able to cover all of its operational and overhead costs required for the service, which included labour, supervision costs, staff allowances and accommodation.
Gympie Regional Council is not the only local government affected by an SLSQ price hike.
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The report states the rise in cost would affect neighbouring councils too.
As a result, these councils will be reviewing the service early next year “with the intent of putting the contract for surf patrols to the open market”.
“They are keen to collaborate with other councils, including Gympie Regional Council, in order to procure a better outcome for all if a tender for this service was deemed to be the way forward,” the report states.
The proposed contract that Gympie’s councillors are being asked to endorse includes an option to renew the SLSQ contract for 2022–23, if desired.
SLSQ has been working with the Gympie council for almost three decades.
An attached report from the organisation states that in 2018–19 it rescued 23 people in Rainbow Beach waters and undertook more than 26,000 “preventive actions”, which directly averted two drowning deaths.