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Fitness Australia takes lead on council ‘sweat taxes’

Fitness Australia takes lead on council ‘sweat taxes’
April 30, 2010

In response to the latest council with plans to introduce charges for the use of open space by personal trainers and fitness groups, Fitness Australia has released a position statement - the Provision of Fitness Training Services in Public Areas.

Prompted by the plans of Warringah Council in NSW to introduce fees and charges for personal trainers and fitness groups of up to $2,200 per annum Fitness Australia has expressed “serious concern” over what would be one of the most expensive Council policies in Australia.

In submitting its concerns over Warringah Council’s policy, Fitness Australia has released its position statement.

The statement follows:

Provision of Fitness Training Services in Public Areas

Purpose of Position Statement

This statement is in response to the local government and statutory authority regulations that exist for personal training and group fitness services being provided in public areas.

Fitness Australia, The Health and Fitness Industry Association, intends to use this position statement to assist consultation with Federal, State and Local Government Authorities on the issue; and to create public awareness regarding the policies and the potentially negative impact they may have on the health and fitness of Australians.

Principles

Fitness Australia is in support of the following principles and considers that they will help guide the development of appropriate policy and regulation for the provision of fitness training services in public areas.

Maintenance of Professional Standards in Service Delivery

• The provision of high quality service, responsible and ethical practice from Fitness Australia Registered Exercise Professionals and Businesses.

Access for all

• To ensure access and usage of public space is preserved for all members of the public.

Protection of the Physical Space

• To protect the physical space for ongoing community use.

Risk Management

• To ensure safety standards and all aspects of risk management are met.

Realistic, Consistent, Coordinated Regulation

• Application of regulatory terms that are realistic, encourage compliance and help foster consistency and coordination with neighboring municipalities.

Maintenance of Outdoor Physical Activity Options for Australians

• To preserve the opportunity for all Australians to benefit from, enjoy and engage in fitness services in a variety of outdoor environments.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

To ensure the development and application of fair and effective outdoor training policy and regulation, Fitness Australia strongly recommends that the following terms be included:

1. Mandatory Professional and/or Business Registration with Fitness Australia

To ensure appropriate professional standards will be met, permit holders must be registered with Fitness Australia as an Exercise Professional (Personal Trainer specialisation) or Business Member.

This will guarantee that the relevant professional is appropriately qualified and currently competent to conduct outdoor fitness training services. It also ensures that the individual holds current first aid and CPR certifications. Fitness Australia Registered Exercise Professionals agree to abide by the Fitness Australia Professional Code of Ethics. Adherence to the code ensures that professionals behave and carry out their professional duties in an ethical and responsible manner.

2. Mandatory Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance for the life of the permit

Fitness Australia Registered Exercise Professionals and Business Members have access to public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Appropriate insurance coverage is an important component of risk management and should be included within terms of an outdoor fitness training policy.

3. Realistic terms that encourage compliance

Fitness Australia recommends that local governments develop terms and regulations that are realistic and encourage compliance.

This would include:

• Affordable fee schedules.

• Clear information for eligibility, exclusion zones and excluded activities.

• Terms for group sizes, trainer participant ratios and permissible activities that reflect industry standards.

• Booking requirements for large group activity only.

4. Portability of permit use with other municipalities

It is Fitness Australia’s view that effective regulation will require a coordinated broad based approach to be truly effective.

Many small and medium sized outdoor fitness services operate across several local government boundaries and the cost and irregularity of multiple permit regulations is prohibitive and ultimately impractical for these providers. Fitness Australia recommends the inclusion of permit portability arrangements with neighbouring municipalities.

5. Collaboration with Fitness Australia to assist information provision and processes

To assist with the provision of updated information to professionals and businesses, in a timely and efficient manner, Fitness Australia encourages local governments to collaborate with the national health and fitness industry association, in order to provide a coordinated, efficient regulatory process.

For more information, contact Fitness Australia on 1300 211 311, www.fitness.org.au

19th April 2010 - HEART FOUNDATION SLAMS COUNCIL ‘SWEAT TAXES’

23rd March 2010 - ‘SWEAT TAX’ SPREADS TO WARRINGAH COUNCIL

10th February 2010 - FITNESS FIRST LAUNCHES GROUP OUTDOOR TRAINING

 


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