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ALFAQ calls for greater investment in Queensland’s public pools

December 5, 2017

The peak body for Queensland’s aquatic facilities wants greater investment in public aquatic centres by local and state Government to bring them in line with world’s best practice.

The call by ALFAQ (Australian Leisure Facilities Association Queensland) follows its recent release of its first industry benchmarking study, which has been introduced to gather vital information about service, sustainability and safety across Queensland’s public aquatic facilities.

ALFAQ President Dan Kwaczynski said the 2017 State of the Industry Report provided a baseline for Queensland’s aquatic facilities to continually assess performance and identify areas for improvement.

Kwaczynski stated “Queensland’s 350+ public aquatic centres attract close to 10 million visitors each year and employ more than 12,000 people.

“These pools provide a valued community health and wellbeing service, but many have outdated systems, so they are not operating as efficiently and sustainably as they could be.

“With an injection of funding, our public pools could install best practice systems like Solar PV for energy generation, Ozone sanitation instead of chemicals and computer vision systems for drowning detection, making our centres better for patrons and more viable enterprises for the lessee/owner.

“If our pools operate more efficiently, more can be invested back into that facility, so it becomes a self-perpetuating improvement model.

“The economic contribution aquatic centres make is significant, with the focus being on disease prevention

“A study conducted by the University of South Australia found that the increased physical activity and social interaction provided by aquatic facilities across Australia contributed $7.60 in value to every $1 spent.

“Aquatic centres around the world are becoming destinations in their own right, with modern dining options, multiple leisure activities and pools of course, improving the overall visitor experience.

“It is estimated that 23 new aquatic facilities are needed to fulfil demand in Australia’s ten highest growth areas, so it is time to ask, what do we want these to look like and how efficiently and safely can we operate them?

“Government has invested significant funding into the upgrade and building of our public libraries, which is terrific and we can all see the benefit it provides for the community. We believe aquatic facilities need to be viewed as valued destinations for the community too and deserving of greater attention by government.”.

The new industry benchmarking study will be repeated every two years and an Aquatic Centre Benchmarking Audit Tool will be introduced to help Governments, Councils and Pool Managers identify the gaps to decide on the best investment for their facilities.

Jay Clarke, owner of City Venue Management, which operated 18 venues across south east Queensland, believes the industry benchmarking study will help Queensland public pools regularly assess their performance against others in the industry and overall the industry will get a better understanding of how it’s performing.

Clarke adds “it’s about building a strong and cohesive voice for the aquatic industry and for the community who love to swim in our centres.”

Images: Aquafitness at Milne Bay Aquatic and Fitness Centre (top) and Jay Clarke, Director, City Venue Management and Reece Rackley, Chief Executive, City Venue Management at the Parkinson Aquatic Centre (below).

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