Future Governance Arrangements for SLST

The SLST Board of Directors has been in discussions with Club Presidents, in their capacity as the SLST Council, to determine the level of involvement that Clubs wish to have on decisions directly related to Club operations.

Currently the “Council” i.e. Club Presidents, have little formal involvement in the decisions made around Lifesaving, Surf Sports or Members Development. Under the current SLST Constitution, this responsibility rest with the SLST Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors, in managing these functions, has delegated much of its authority to the Voluntary State Advisory Committees supported by our paid staff. The success of these committees is totally dependent upon volunteer members putting up their hands to sit on the advisory committees and for Clubs to ensure that they are appropriately represented at both regional and state forums. Importantly, that Club representatives report back to their Clubs on matters discussed and decisions made which directly impacts on Club members.

Unfortunately over the years the support for the voluntary committees has not been at a level which enables them to fulfil their roles and responsibility to the fullest extent. Whilst the situation has improved recently due in part to individual members putting forward their nominations, there is still much room for improvement and critically clubs need to consider advisory committee appointments for the future.

As a means of addressing this issue, the Board of Directors has presented a Discussion Paper to Club Presidents which in essence asked the following questions:

  1. What role does the Council (club presidents) wish to play in the decision making process on matters directly related to Club Operations i.e. the future role of the Council?
  2. Should the Advisory Committees of Lifesaving and Surf Sports continued to be managed by volunteers and fully supported by Clubs? and,
  3. What role should paid staff play with the advisory committees, i.e. support or manage?

Based on the answers to these questions we need to agree on the allocation of roles and responsibilities for the Council, Advisory Committees and Clubs with a clear understanding of the role of paid staff be that in a support or managing capacity.

Once these fundamental decisions have be determined we will be able to start to address the many issues of concern facing our Clubs to ensure their sustainability into the future.

This discussion is of critical importance to SLST moving forward to ensure that it remains relative to the larger community and the expectations of Government in the overall aquatic safety of all Tasmanians especially those outside our traditional domain of “Between the Flags”.

Our future is intrinsically linked to our move into providing aquatic rescue services “Beyond the Flags”. However, it must be stressed that our traditional club based organisation remains an important and critical component, without which we will not be able to support our objectives and vision for zero preventable drownings.

As such, the Board of Directors priority is to ensure that our existing Club structure remains strong and relevant to ensure that we continue to provide a safe aquatic environment at the many beaches patrolled by our members.

I have requested Club Presidents to consider the Discussion Paper and be in position to bring your Clubs views to the Forum on the future role of the Council and commitment from Clubs to the current Voluntary Advisory Committee structure. It is intended that the Forum will be conducted in April (a date yet to be confirmed)

I would strongly suggest that any member who has a view on this that they raise them with their respect Club President and Executive Committee.

The Discussion Paper can be found by clicking here

Stephen Godfrey, President SLST