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AUSactive to consult members on industry accreditation

AUSactive to consult members on industry accreditation
November 3, 2023

The AUSactive Board has unanimously given the go ahead to explore an accreditation concept for the fitness industry.

Agreed at its most recent board meeting, the move follows the successful Fit for Office campaign which, AUSactive Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish advises “has provided us with multiple entry points to begin positive discussions with the Federal Government and the Opposition on a possible accreditation regime.”

Explaining that “we need to take the opportunities that are presented to us”, noting “can you name any profession operating in Australia’s health environment that is not subject to regulation? Indeed, can you name any recognised profession that is not subject to regulation?”

Exploring the reasons for an accreditation regime, Elvish told Australasian Leisure Management that the fitness and exercise industry “wants to be taken seriously, with an acknowledgement of the integral role we play in Australia's preventive health and for there to be a deconstruction of the nation’s established health industry paradigm.

“Key components to this would be our industry having access to NDIS programs, aged care in home packages, and greater health insurance rebates (plus seeing) fringe benefit tax on gym memberships removed and fitness club memberships to be tax deductible; for doctors to prescribe exercise and physical activity as a first choice, for all of Australia’s states and territories to follow Queensland's lead and to classify gyms as ‘essential services’ and ultimately for our sector to be recognised by Medicare.”

Elvish goes on to explain “while we would be the first country in the world to achieve this complete package of objectives - I believe they are all achievable if the industry takes itself seriously and behaves seriously.”

As to how this could happen, Elvish recalled how, “before Covid, AUSactive conducted a survey to see what level of support existed for the introduction of a regulatory framework in our sector - the response was overwhelmingly in favour.”

Recognising potential opposition within the industry, Elvish noted “it has to be acknowledged that talk of regulation is counterproductive with some sections of our industry, but I am not talking about bureaucratic red tape or unnecessary paperwork that only adds to operational administration.

“I propose a softer opt in model of accreditation that hangs off a regulatory framework developed in consultation with the industry, key external stakeholders and government policy makers.

“The model could evolve over a 12 to 18 month period, achieve buy in and support from our membership and be presented to government as the industry preferred model for implementation. “The model could include such aspects as a revised Code of Ethics, education and professional development requirements, operational standards, community inclusion, audit and sanction protocols and community engagement guidelines. Exercise professionals and facilities could then choose to opt in to the Accreditation system and by doing so receive recognition by, and access to, government health programs, private health insurers and the wider health system.

“This is similar to the system that operates in Australia's early childhood sector where although accreditation is not compulsory 95% of providers do elect to opt in.”

Elvish adds that “the time for AUSactive and supportive industry players to be accreditation trendsetters is now”, pointing to:

• Australia’s appalling chronic disease rates including obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity rates
• Covid having exacerbated the already dire state of mental health in Australia
• The health system being at breaking point and unsustainable in its current form
• Economic productivity at low levels and worsening
• Australia has a major Covid induced budgetary problem
• NDIS is allegedly being rorted by unscrupulous operators 
• Australia has an ageing population
• There are rumblings of Regulation being mandated
• Every day there is more research and media coverage on the benefits of exercise
• The Federal Government is looking for trusted partners to address the above and other related issues.

Information on the consultation will be released by AUSactive in the near future.

Lower image: Barrie Elvish.

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5th October 2023 - AUSactive appoints One Playground founder Justin Ashley to new Career Ambassador role

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16th September 2023 - AUSactive Awards 2023 celebrate the fitness and wellbeing industry’s highest achievements

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24th October 2022 - AUSactive Awards recognise excellence in Australia’s fitness industry

4th October 2022 - 19 businesses pilot AUSactive All Abilities Program

10th August 2022 - AUSactive webinars to offer mental health support

4th August 2022 - AUSactive’s Barrie Elvish praises Queensland Government’s FairPlay voucher scheme

27th July 2022 - AUSactive’s Barrie Elvish named Chair of World Active Forum

25th November 2021 - With a new vision for health and wellbeing Fitness Australia announces rebranding as AUSactive

29th July 2021 - Fitness Australia advises of concessions achieved for gym reopenings

21st July 2021 - Fitness Australia calls for ‘JobKeeper 2.0’ as Coronavirus lockdowns widen

3rd July 2021 - Fitness Australia invites input on industry trends survey

4th January 2021 - Fitness Australia calls for Federal government to introduce national plan to improve physical activity rates

14th December 2020 - Locals drive Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre’s push for industry accreditation

16th June 2020 - Australasian Society of Association Executives establishes tailored industry accreditation


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