Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976, and has since grown into a leading company in the waterparks industry. Today Polin is one of the world leaders in the design, production, and installation of…read more
Free Swimming: An End or a Beginning?
The just published November/December 2009 issue of Australasian Leisure Management includes a feature on the free swimming program run by the Manukau City Council (New Zealand).
The article, Swimming for Nothing, by Aimee McCallum, explains Manukau's free pools initiative.
Since 1974, Manukau City Council has provided free public access to its pools, putting up to $7 million of ratepayers' money towards running the facilities each year.
Managed by Manukau Leisure Services, a City Council-controlled organisation, aquatic facilities in Manukau are open seven days a week throughout the year. Collectively these pools are visited by over 1.8 million people each year while Manukau Leisure also provides special programs in learning to swim, water safety, aquarobics, lifeguard training, and popular Summer Fun Days.
However, Manukau's free pools initiative could come to an end as part of plans that would see the Council merged into the new Auckland 'supercity'. The 'supercity', which will see Auckland's eight local authorities and council controlled organisations merged into a unitary city-wide council, has led New Zealand Olympic legend and long-serving Manukau City Council member Sir John Walker to express that free swimming will be abandoned once the new city administration is implemented.
As recently reported on this website, Walker explained, "Manukau is the only city in the country that has free swimming pools â¦ I don't know what's going to happen to the supercity, but free swimming pools for the whole of Auckland, probably not?."
In Australia, councils on the NSW South Coast have allowed free access to their pools in the past. However, when Wollongong City Council developed new facilities at the Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres in the past decade, charges were introduced while, as recently as September,
Shellharbour City Council ended its long-held tradition of free access to pools.
By contrast, the UK Government has been operating an initiative for all of Englandâs public swimming pools to be free to use by 2012.
Planned as a legacy of the London Olympics, with the aim of getting two million people more active by the time of the 2012 Games, the scheme began in April this year with swimming sessions in England made available for free for those aged 60 and over and those aged 16 and under.
In Wales, the Principality's assembly already funds free swimming for under-16s during the school holidays and for over-60s at other times.
Local authorities in England are to get $145 million a year in return for scrapping charges, and a further $105 million for refurbishing and maintaining pools. As a result, four out of five councils have signed up to provide free swimming for the over-60s while over half of councils are offering the programs to the under 16s.
Jointly funded by five UK Government departments, the scheme is being delivered in partnership with local authorities, the Local Government Association, Sport England and the Amateur Swimming Association.
Quarterly figures just released by the UK Government have shown that a total of 5.9 million free swims were taken across the UK between July and September, compared with 4.4 million during the first quarter, with more than 250 local authorities currently signed up to the scheme.
With past UK local government initiatives such as competitive tendering and unitary council reorganisations having been adopted by Governments in Australia and New Zealand, industry insiders are speculating that the 'free swimming' concept could be adopted by Australasian Governments.
Commenting on the potential for 'free swimming' in Australia, industry consultant Martin Sheppard suggested that "money from the Federal Government's planned Healthy Communities initiative could fund such a program, as could reallocated sports funding if the Crawford Report's recommendations are adopted."
25th November 2009 - END OF FREE SWIMMING AT SHELLHARBOUR
20th November 2009 - FREE SWIMMING A SUCCESS IN ENGLAND AND WALES
Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?
The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.
However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.
Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.
Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.
Click here to subscribe.
The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.
Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…read more
We are the leading providers of kids fun multi-sports programs for Sport and Recreation Centres. Programs cover twelve common sports as well as Gross Motor Skill Development and suit children from as…read more
TJS Services is a leading national facility services provider. We deliver quality cleaning, maintenance, construction and facility management services to over 1,500 sites Australia wide. Our…read more
As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…read more
Welcome to The Pool Enclosure Company (TPEC). We provide a large range of premium commercial and residential retractable swimming pool, spa and terrace enclosures throughout Australia, servicing…read more
Humanforce is a global provider of workforce management solutions for companies who need flexibility to manage complex workforces. Companies use Humanforce to manage everything from time and…read more
Yellowbox is an Australian technology company that has developed smart locker technology operated through an app with a focus on experience for users and facility managers. Found at Beaches, Aquatic…read more
get listed with our suppliers directory
Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!