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Community aquatic, recreation and sport industry alliance seeks 12-month stimulus package from Federal and state governments

Community aquatic, recreation and sport industry alliance seeks 12-month stimulus package from Federal and state governments
May 13, 2020

The alliance of industry peak bodies, facility operators and program and activity providers in the aquatic, recreation and sport industry are seeking Federal and State Government assistance in the form of a 12-month industry stimulus package to assist local governments, non-for-profits and small and medium businesses in rebooting “the community activities that are so critical to the physical, mental and community health of our nation”.

Included in the alliance’s Industry Re-opening Framework document released yesterday, the grouping has advised that the closure of swimming pools, recreation facilities and gyms as a result of the Coronavirus crisis “has had financial impacts including substantial losses in revenue, including loss of memberships and customers; along with ongoing expenditure on overheads including heating, chemicals, life extending asset management obligations and rent”.

As a result, it has called for measures that it believes will ensure the success of the industry that include:

• A reopening of the aquatic and recreation industry to enable a stimulus to the Australian economy and improvement in community health and wellbeing.

• A stimulus fund to support local governments and other industry operators and participants to meet community needs and underwrite the cost gap between a staged re-opening of venues and the full return to usual income and membership levels including support for maintenance, upgrades and subsidies for utilities. Initiatives to ensure that children and other vulnerable community members are encouraged to return to aquatic and recreation facilities including grants for swimming and water safety lessons for schools and community groups, as well as to provide subsidised physical activity and health based programs for those without work

• Initiatives to drive demand for facilities and participation including a national communications campaign and funding incentives such as vouchers

• Initiatives to support training and recruitment of employees as activities ramp up

The alliance advises “we recognise that Governments at all levels can play an essential role in re-opening and revitalising community aquatic and recreation facilities.

“We are actively engaging (across) states and territories to advise of critical measures to ensure the successful reboot of the industry. This is an essential industry which will continue to play a vital role in community health, safety and happiness for generations to come.”

The alliance of industry peak bodies, facility operators and program and activity providers have been in close contact throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing expertise and support, impacts on communities, businesses and employees across the industry.

The Framework was developed by the following:

Industry National Peak bodies
Royal Life Saving Society – Australia
Australian Leisure Facilities Association 

State Peak Bodies
Aquatics and Recreation Victoria
Aquatics and Recreation Institute (NSW)
Leisure Institute of Western Australia (LIWA)

Facility and Program Providers
Aligned Leisure
Belgravia Leisure
Club Links
State Sports Centres - NSW
The Y/YMCA (Australia and NSW) 

Support was provided by Smart Connection Consultancy.

The Australian community aquatic, recreation and sport sectors represented by the Alliance includes:

• More than 1077 aquatic and recreation facilities, usually own by councils and often managed by a range of non-profit organisations, small and medium businesses 
• More than 1,200 swim schools, including many small family businesses 
• More than 67,000 frontline employees in roles including swimming and water safety instructors, pool lifeguards and fitness professionals 
• More than 1.5 million children participating in swimming and water safety lessons 
• More than 106 million individual visits to swim in a pool, participate in community sport, train in a gym or just relax.

Click here to read the Industry Re-opening Framework.

Image: Lifeguard image courtesy of the City of Moreland.

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4th May 2020 - Australians’ physical activity declines during Coronavirus lockdown

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1st May 2020 - Royal Life Saving makes the case for the reopening of Australia’s aquatic centres and swim schools

23rd April 2020 - Belgravia Leisure Re-engages over 20 Exercise Physiologists for new Telehealth service

18th April 2020 - Recreation Aotearoa Coronavirus resource includes advice on reducing aquatic centre operating costs during facility closures

3rd April 2020 - Royal Life Saving welcomes JobKeeper payments as a ‘$700 million lifeline’ for aquatic facilities and swim schools

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31st March 2020 - Australian Government launches $130 billion ‘JobKeeper’ wage subsidy

25th March 2020 - Aquatic sector could lose $900 million in revenue as Prime Minister Morrison advises that all commercial pools must close

20th March 2020 - Stakeholders seek Government stimulus support for privately operated sports centres

18th March 2020 - Royal Life Saving releases position statement on the impact of Coronavirus on aquatic facilites

17th March 2020 - Coronavirus fears sees closure of aquatic centres despite conflicting advice

26th November 2019 - YMCA becomes ‘the Y’ with first logo change in 52 years

22nd August 2019 - Ian Thorpe set to inspire community activity by joining BlueFit advisory committee

3rd May 2018 - Clublinks gets Deakin University students more active

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