Note to NSW Clubs and Members

You may be aware of an issue which has generated some interest this week regarding two clubs in the Illawarra Branch and we would like to provide members with some further information.

The Executive of Corrimal and Port Kembla SLSCs are yet to sign their Lifesaving Service Agreements – a basic three-year agreement which sets out the minimum patrol commitment for a club to adequately service and protect its community. The other 127 surf clubs in NSW have agreements in place and will begin to honour those commitments from tomorrow when patrols begin across the state.

Negotiations to arrive at the new service agreement in the Illawarra have taken almost 18 months and have involved extensive consultation between the clubs, the Branch, Wollongong City Council and SLSNSW.

Through this process, the Illawarra Branch negotiated a Lifesaving Service Agreement for Corrimal and Port Kembla featuring a number of significant amendments. These include:

  • Recognition that for the majority of the season there is no need for the clubs to provide patrols on Saturdays.
  • During the peak summer holiday period, 3 patrol members are being asked to volunteer alongside council lifeguards for 4 hours a day to protect the public on just 5-6 Saturdays. This is a significant reduction in patrol hours from previous seasons.
  • The clubs have been given a powercraft exemption which means they no longer need to provide an IRB and crew on Saturday patrols, reducing the burden significantly on members.

Despite these amendments and taking into account the ability of the club to provide a minimum level of service, the Executive of both clubs have not returned a signed agreement to the Illawarra Branch, due on September 1, 2015.

The Branch President has asked for an extension of one week for these clubs to consult with their members, examine their options and hopefully arrive at a decision which will see the club continue to provide a vital community service to their communities. The Board of SLSNSW has approved the extension and is looking forward to receiving a completed Lifesaving Service Agreement from the Executives of those clubs.

Both clubs have a long and proud history in the Illawarra and their members have made an incredible contribution to protecting the public. It is hoped that this legacy and the community goodwill that has been built-up by the members over many years will not be put in jeopardy in the course of arriving at a resolution.

Fri 18 Sep 2015