After more than a decade in the top job, Avoca Beach’s Stuart Harvey will hand over the reins of Central Coast Branch to new hands – those of North Avoca President and 2018 Australian Surf Lifesaver of the Year, Matt Slattery.

Stuart has held the Presidency for the past 12 years, with a heavy focus on governance laying the platform for a successful tenure which has seen the region blossom under his leadership.

He has no fear that will change as the handover commences – Matt has been a valued member of the Surf Life Saving movement for many years and brings plenty to the table.

“The main reason for moving on is to allow a new person to come in with new ideas and move us forward further,” Stuart said.

“Someone out there skilled, with knowledge – someone like Matt.

“I tapped him on the shoulder a couple of years ago and said he would make a great Branch President, but at the time he told me he had more to do at North Avoca.

“So, we’ve been talking about some things over the past two years. He’s an efficient, experienced administrator and the right person to take the Central Coast forward.”

Stuart Harvey - Outgoing SLSCC Branch President
Outgoing Central Coast Branch President, Stuart Harvey

For his part, Matt – who achieved his 20-year National Patrol Service Award in 2017 – has been a previous recipient of an SLSA Meritorious Award for bravery and has held a variety of roles on the Coast including Patrol Captain at North Avoca and active Duty Officer for the Branch.

His newest hat – that of Branch President – will fit him just as nicely.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities given to me over the years through participating in surf, it’s an opportunity for me to give back and share my experiences and knowledge on a broader scale,” Matt said.

“I’m looking forward to the new challenge as a strong branch within the state.

“The Coast has been innovators and at the forefront of many of the state’s big moves – we were the first on the jet skis, the first with drones in the air, we want to keep being innovators.”

While Stuart will now move back into a more active role within his home club of Avoca Beach, he reflects fondly on his years at Branch level and what was achieved.

“The opportunity to make sure our money was stable, clubs’ money was stable, we were able to get in and work with the clubs with financial audits, the legal side, ensuring clubs looked after themselves and the future – that was good,” he said.

“Our lifesaving as well – zero drownings between flags, uptalking of lifesaving plans between clubs – we were able to unite clubs on an even stronger level than before.”

With that strong foundation in place, Matt can turn his focus to other areas.

“I’m looking forward to looking at surf sports,” Matt said.

“New people bring new ideas so I’m looking forward to involving myself there.

“It’s well known as well my background and heavy interest is in lifesaving. I’d like to see strength across the Coast increase in my time.”

Thursday 5 May 2022