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Queensland Aquatic Industry Alliance reports on success over past 18 months

Queensland Aquatic Industry Alliance reports on success over past 18 months
September 6, 2021

An update from the Queensland Aquatic Industry Alliance (QAIA) has advised how it has worked continuously with the Queensland Government during the Coronavirus crisis to ensure aquatic centres, learn to swim facilities and aquatic sport can reopen as soon as safely possible after each lockdown with the least number of restrictions possible.

Convened in early 2020 as lockdowns emerged in Queensland, QAIA comprises representatives from industry organisations, local government and facility operators including ALFAQ (Australian Leisure Facilities Association - Queensland), Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA), the Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA), AUSTSWIM, Brisbane City Council, City Venue Management, Royal Life Saving Society - Queensland and Swimming Queensland.

The Queensland government have appreciated working with one group that represents the aquatic industry. As a result, QAIA have been able to provide Queensland government with information and confidence that the aquatic industry can operate safely under COVID safe checklist. This has resulted in the ability for pools and associated activity to reopen early and with the least possible restrictions.

With the south east Queensland lockdown that ended on Sunday 8th August, QAIA advised that “it worked with Queensland Government to ensure swim schools and learn to swim, hydrotherapy, recreational activities and aquatic exercise can resume immediately.”

This was reflected in the Restrictions for Impacted Areas (No. 12) (SEQ eased restrictions Stage 1) Direction.

QAIA added “Direction 12 provides clarity that indoor and outdoor swimming pools can reopen for rehabilitation, learn to swim and recreational purposes with restrictions like physical distancing out of the pool and occupancy density for shared indoor spaces. However, some activities including organised team sport are not permitted.

Each individual facility and operator will need to determine when and how they reopen subject to COVID safe plans and other considerations including third party provider requirements, community sentiment and financial viability.

“Additionally, in light of the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport releasing a statement to the Sport and Recreation industry, confirming that operators can return community sport to their venues as it fits the definition of commercial business.”

QAIA’s interpretation is that squad training can return under the following guidelines:

  • Squad training programs to be conducted with adherence to all of the following conditions adapted from the communications received from DTIS :
  • Swimmers will be in groups of a maximum of 10 with no physical contact between participants;
  • Participants will physically distance themselves through use of lane spacing, cycle times starts and finishes and lane ropes;
  • Venue density requirements are followed;
  • Swimmers will wear masks to and from training and at all times outside of the water;
  • Swimmers will only use their own equipment and no sharing of equipment will be permitted;
  • Swimmers will sign in using QLD govt contact tracing app at each training session
  • No structured competitions to occur.

QAIA added “we hope you are all staying safe and well during these difficult times.

“Whilst we understand there is a lot of noise and many affected industries are clamouring for attention across key government areas, we firmly believe that there is merit in pushing forward to get our voices heard.

“With the very successful outcomes achieved by the … QAIA, we know we can achieve the best outcomes by coming together in solidarity with a united voice and message.”

NSW working group for the aquatic and learn to swim industry
A NSW working group has also been formed as a collective to bring the key messaging for the aquatic and learn to swim industry to the forefront and continue the discussion around considerations for reopening across the sector.

Key stakeholders from industry bodies are involved both directly and indirectly within the working group, helping to provide expertise and positioning.

Membership includes ASSA, ASCTA and Swim Australia, with the working group advising "you can assist us greatly by helping us to understand your needs and concerns better".

The NSW group will also be distributing a comprehensive survey to stakeholders to help collate important information relevant to the sector in the next few days.

Click here to view the Queensland Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport (DTIS) statement to the Sport and Recreation industry.

Image courtesy of Zoggs.

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