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Heart Foundation slams council ‘sweat taxes’
The Heart Foundation says council moves to charge outdoor personal trainers higher fees is a shot in the arm for obesity.
The City of Stirling in Western Australia has joined the ranks of councils introducing fees for personal trainers who use public parks and reserves. The Perth council plans to charge trainers fees of up to $50 per hour.
Fitness Australia says many businesses will not be able to operate with fees costing up to $15,000 each year while the Heart Foundation's Trevor Shilton says the move is another barrier to reducing obesity levels.
As Shilton explains, "if we really want to address our obesity level we need to have good quality physical activity available for people and we need to have good dietary information and healthy measures plans in place, so every time something like this occurs it's just one other shot in the arm for obesity."
Fitness Australia says local councils should be helping outdoor personal trainers fight obesity - not penalising them with increased charges.
Currently outdoor trainers pay the City of Stirling $1,100 a year to use up to 30 outdoor public venues.
Fitness Australia's General Manager, Robert Barnes, says the $50 a hour fees will put many outdoor trainers out of business, stating "the kind of rates that are being bandied about at 25 to 50 bucks an hour for any small business owner could range in fees being payable up in the ten, 12 or 14 thousand dollar mark, and in a lot of cases that represents 40 to 50% of the turnover of the small business."
The City of Stirling says fees it charges outdoor personal trainers must rise because of the wear and tear on public parks and reserves.
Council Recreational Manager Brett Spencer says businesses must cover council costs of maintaining public amenities.
Spencer states that "we don't provide community amenities so that commercial businesses can get a commercial gain from them."
9th April 2010 - HEART FOUNDATION LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS
23rd March 2010 - ‘SWEAT TAX’ SPREADS TO WARRINGAH COUNCIL
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