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Call for stronger advocacy and support for fitness operators in regional Victoria

Call for stronger advocacy and support for fitness operators in regional Victoria
July 22, 2021

Citing a bleak outlook for the fitness industry in regional Victoria, gym owner and business leader Mel Tempest has called for stronger representation for the sector and a rescue package for the industry from the Federal and Victorian Governments.

With fitness operators across Victoria having endured repeated lockdowns over the past 16 months, Tempest, the owner of the Ballarat Body & Soul Genesis 24/7 gym, believes that the current lockdown for another week spell the end of many gyms, as well as other small businesses, in regional Victoria.

Tempest (pictured), who has worked to achieve a high international profile in fitness, says “there is not a day that passes where I don’t receive a call from a distressed business owner”.

Aware of the situation of many business owners, she explains “the Federal/State Government needs to come to the industry’s rescue with a national relief package … without it, the industry will shut down and this will cost us all in the long run.

“Already we are starting to witness a broken industry, business owners living day to day, no money left, borrowing money where they can, overdrafts and credit cards maxed out and landlords screaming for rent.”

She goes on to express her fears that without new financial support “clubs will close, mental health problems and suicide will increase, chronic illness will grow, and our health care system will crumble under the already existing strain.

“The fitness industry is more than a selfie on Instagram and the days on steel plates dropping in clubs are gone. We need to eliminate this poor image and promote what and who we are, ‘a lifeline for many’ (and) we need new representation and the fitness professionals of today to stand up to represent the next generations, so they have an industry to go to.

“Associations have done what they can, but it’s not enough to get us across the line.

“More fitness professionals men and women need to get involved with local, state and federal government.”

She added “we need funds now” citing that the relief payment system was too slow, noting “I only received a business relief grant for lockdown four yesterday, and here we are in lockdown number five.”

Tempest herself has repeatedly engaged with Victorian politicians and has gained the support of opposition members Louise Staley and David Hodgett who, she says, have thrown their support behind the fitness industry.

She has also been quoted in Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun in a report on the impact of lockdowns on small businesses in regional Victoria.

Click here to view this report.

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

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15th June 2021 - Keepme launches new white paper to demystify AI for fitness and wellness sectors

9th June 2021 - Fitness Australia and Vic Active demand exercise facilities be allowed to open in regional Victoria

7th June 2021 - FILEX Leadership Summit a ground-breaking coming together of Australia’s fitness leaders

4th June 2021 - Fitness Australia asks why Victoria’s Chief Health Officer is again targeting gyms

1st June 2021 - Victorian lockdown leads to fitness industry losses in excess of $10 million

28th May 2021 - Fourth COVID lockdown ‘a monumental kick in the guts’ for Victorian fitness operators

27th May 2021 - Fitness Australia urges locked down Victorians not to forget the importance of physical activity

26th May 2021 - New global research highlights role of technology in the fitness industry

26th May 2021 - Les Mills International shares advice on ways clubs can convert digital fitness fans into members

17th May 2021 - Survey reveals how COVID has changed women’s fitness and diet routines

31st July 2020 - Melbourne gym hosts anti-mask conspiracy theorists meeting

6th March 2021 - Mel Tempest named 2020 influencer of the year by Fitness Business Association

11th May 2020 - Women in Fitness Association appoints further global ambassadors

6th February 2019 - Ballarat Body and Soul to become part of Genesis Health and Fitness chain

25th October 2018 - Fitness entrepreneur and ‘contrarian’ Mel Tempest receives special industry communication and marketing award

27th September 2018 - FITREC names Mel Tempest as Global Ambassador

2nd March 2018 - Ballarat gym rebranding reflects changing fitness trends

15th June 2017 - Ballarat fitness club owner wins IHRSA Institute Scholarship

24th February 2015 - New guide to running a ‘Kick Ass’ fitness business

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