Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Sheppard Antagonises Parks Group

Sheppard Antagonises Parks Group
September 9, 2010

Leading leisure industry consultant Martin Sheppard has been slammed in a communication from the President of Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA).

Responding to comments made by Sheppard in his company’s Smart Connection e-newsletter, distributed yesterday, PLA National President Bruce Fordham has written to members of PLA “to clarify some assertions made about PLA in a recent ‘Smart Connection’ e-news.

“Without getting into a word on word rebuttal of statements, I feel it important to accurately inform all PLA members of ongoing organisational actions and the reasoning behind such.”

In an editorial in the latest Smart Connection e-newsletter, ‘What Does the Hung Parliament Mean to Us?”, Sheppard recalled “it was pleasing to read the response from our industry associations, Parks and Leisure Association (PLA) and the Australian Leisure Facilities Association (ALFA), to the question raised in the last Smart Connection eNews, ‘why haven’t PLA and ALFA been lobbying government parties for the election to determine a policy for our industry?’”

“Since this question was raised, both associations immediately issued policy statements (but) a prime opportunity seems to have been missed, due to these reactive rather than proactive statements! The PLA policy statement represented leisure planners, parks and open space, thus their request concentrated on government action around parks, open space and health.”

These comments appear to have upset the PLA’s leadership, causing Fordham to follow up later in the day. In his communication, the PLA President continued “Parks and Leisure Australia has from day 1, established as an umbrella organisation which represents professionals engaged in planning, managing, and maintaining Australia’s open space and developed environments, as well as the many built leisure facilities, which provide for local communities. The article in question implied a more limited focus to this. PLA has broad membership across many sectors and includes the private sector; education institutions; not for profit organisations; public authorities and all sectors of the government. We exist to support professionals delivering benefit of community quality of life.

“(Sheppard’s) article implied a reactive approach by PLA to ‘Smart Connection’ stimulus, which I assure members, is far from the truth. I can assure all members, that the PLA National Board and CEO have long been in liaison with Federal government departmental personnel, as well as with leaders of all political parties - strengthened just prior to the recent election - advocating across a broad palette of issues from Community Infrastructure; Climate Change; Health and Well-being; Inclusive communities and the improved adoption of modern technology.

“Members, pleased be assured that as well as recent letters to all political leaders - which have in fact elicited a supportive reply and agreement of further face to face discussion - PLA has, and will continue to liaise and advocate on behalf of our overall industry. Our approach is and will remain, very ‘proactive’.”

Formed in 1998 by the merger of the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation and the Victorian-based Australian Leisure Institute, Parks and Leisure Australia set out to represent a broad range of community recreation and open spaces interests.

As highlighted by Sheppard, in recent years the PLA has tended to focus on the interests of leisure planners along with parks and open spaces professionals. A desire to represent those who manage aquatic, recreation and sports facilities was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Australian Leisure Facilities Association last year.

Click here to contact Smart Connection via their entry in the Australasian Leisure Management Supplier Directory.








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 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.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Pico Play

Pico is a global leader in Total Brand Activation. We specialise in engaging people, creating experiences and activating brands. Leveraging a track record in experience design that spans half a…

read more

Attractions / Consultants / Design / Recreation / Venues



Myzone is the industry’s leading wearable technology solution. Myzone’s wearable products show and reward effort when you work out. It displays accurate real-time heart rate, calories, and…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Centaman Entrance Control

Turnstile Entry Systems and Access Control Centaman Entrance Controls’ Award Winning Range of Access Control Systems includes tripod & triarm turnstiles, speedgates, full height…

read more

Access / Entertainment / Sport / Ticketing / Venues



Our team believes floors should be beautiful, comfortable, and engineered for safety, even when wet. Life Floor tiles meet six unique performance based standards: slip-resistance, impact absorption,…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation / Safety / Surfaces


Augmented Creative

Augmented Creative is an open organization of like-minded and highly dedicated, creative people who conceive, plan and execute visual solutions. We pursue new and innovative visual ideas to help…

read more

Arts / Attractions / Consultants / Design / Tourism


TouchCloud Global

Activating skyscapes for tourism, art, leisure and living TouchCloud Global (TCg) is a highly specialised international consultancy, broker and principal, devoted solely to activating and energising…

read more

Attractions / Consultants / Recreation / Safety / Tourism



AUSTRALIAN MADE. BUILT NOT BOUGHT. AlphaFit is a 100% Australian owned family company manufacturing gear specifically for the strength and conditioning, functional fitness and high-performance…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness



ICP is an Australian-based company focused on indoor climbing. ICP will manage your project from initial design to completion and beyond, whether you're building an international-level climbing…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business