Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 2021

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ATTRACTIONS Aussie World’s SX360 ride The 2021 Ski Season


Legal Lessons for Coaches Importance of Swimming Lessons

Print Post Approved PP100022562


Rebooting the Arts Qudos Bank Arena’s COVID Challenges


Mindful Movement Fitness Clubs on the Edge


Solar Rooftops Cost Efficient Heating


Brisbane Paralympics Vaccines and Industry Recovery Artificial Turf Tensions


Issue 145







features 16

OzAsia 2021 Hand to Earth credit Tobias Titz

Challenged to Reach New Heights How Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena has reacted to COVID


Doing the Right Thing Helping aquatic centres reduce energy consumption


Learn to Swim Service is Essential Reclassifying swim schools as an essential service


Local Support Aussie World’s new rides


Paralympics Australia aims for Societal Change Para sport as a means for societal change


Ancient Ways, Modern Growth The growing of mindful movement

COVER: Aussie World’s new SX360 ride. See page 28.


Surface Tensions Arguments around artificial turf


regulars 6 From the Publisher 8 Two Months in Leisure 59 People

Australian arts and culture need a ‘total reboot’


A Rough Run for Ski Regions How ski areas are faring this winter


Powering a Sporting Nation The potential for rooftops to mitigate climate change


Legal Lessons for Coaches The Fitness Award covers elite swimming coaches

61 Products 54 for all the latest industry news, products and events

Boot up the Arts

Passports to Recovery Vaccines have a role to play in industry recovery


4 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Challenges and Opportunities Fitness clubs are facing unprecedented stress

From the Publisher Resigned to our Fate?

Published by Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd, 102 Taiyul Road, North Narrabeen, NSW 2101 (PO Box 478, Collaroy, NSW 2097) AUSTRALIA ABN 32 092 549 721

Tel: 02 9970 8322 E-mail: Twitter: @AusLeisure Facebook: Editor Karen Sweaney Publisher Nigel Benton Design Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd Contributors Shaun McKeogh and Gwen Luscombe

Advertising Inquiries Nigel Benton Tel: 02 9970 8322 Email: Printed in Australia by Pegasus Print Group Building B, 1A Bessemer Street, Blacktown NSW 2148 Tel: 02 8822 0600, The annual subscription cost is AUS $90 (inclusive of GST) in Australia, New Zealand and throughout the Rest of the World. Members of AALARA, ARNA, ASPA, ASSA, EVANZ, ExerciseNZ, IAKS, LIWA Aquatics, the Sports and Play Industry Association and the VMA receive the magazine as a membership benefit. The views contained in Australasian Leisure Management are not necessarily those of Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd or the Editor. While every care is taken with advice given, Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd and the Editor can take no responsibility for effects arising therefrom. Views expressed by contributors may be personal and are not necessarily the views of their employers or professional associations.

© Australasian Leisure Management, 2021. ISSN 1446-1374

Official Publication

In Association with

It is sad and remarkable to reflect that after all the tribulations endured in 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic erupted into our daily lives, that, with the rest of the world opening up, Australia and New Zealand remain isolated with low levels of vaccinations, ongoing lockdowns and almost non-existent international travel. Having endured through the first year of the pandemic, I think all in the industry share the frustrations that the sacrifices made during that time now count for little as new and unexpected restrictions and lockdowns impact all areas of life and especially our business, employment and activities. The current climate of snap lockdowns, border closures and restrictions also have a massive effect on consumer confidence and business’ ability not only to operate but also to plan. For sectors such as live entertainment, sporting events and venues, the uncertainty created by lockdowns makes it nearly impossible to plan. Perhaps the most applicable example of this are major tours planned by international acts Guns N’ Roses and Kiss for the last quarter of the year. Seen as being key to rebooting Australia’s live performance industry, promoters, who have already sold hundreds of thousands of tickets for the nationwide performances, have made comprehensive provisions for these tours to be staged. However, at the time of writing, and while there has been no confirmation of any change of dates, it appears likely the tours will be postponed to 2022, with massive costs and inconvenience for all involved – the fans, the venues, the promoters, the acts and many other stakeholders. And perhaps the most significant aspect of ongoing lockdowns appears to be that the industry is seemingly accepting that the closing down of its activities are inevitable, with bodies who have previously lobbied and flagged all the benefits that this industry brings - such as Fitness Australia, Live Performance Australia and Vic Active - seeming to have nothing new to say and may well be, like many of us, resigned to our fate.

‘Correct at the time of publication’ While developments in this industry are constant, the uncertainty of the past year has seen us frequently using terms such as “at the time of writing” (as you can see above), “correct at the time of publication” or similar terms with what is published in Australasian Leisure Management. However, the emergence of Coronavirus and the near daily changes in impacting society means that what we might report as open one day, is closed the next. With that in mind, what readers will find in this issue is correct as we publish it - but matters may have moved on by the time you read it. And despite a somewhat gloomy scenario in this editorial, this issue of Australasian Leisure Management covers extraordinary initiative, imagination, resilience, entrepreneurship and community in catering for the leisure needs of our populations. Such traits remain vital in meeting the challenges we now face and making the most of the post-COVID world. Nigel Benton, Publisher

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Two Months in Leisure Some of the industry headlines over recent months. Daily industry news can be read at

Mt Wellington cable car render

End of the road for Mt Wellington cable car plan?

Brisbane elected as host city for XXXV Olympiad The International Olympic Committee has confirmed Brisbane and South East Queensland as host for the 2032 Olympic Games. The decision was announced after a full meeting of International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegates in Tokyo in advance of the opening of the delayed 2020 Games. The Games, to be held from 23rd July to 8th August 2032, to be immediately followed by the Paralympics will be staged at more than 30 venues across south-east Queensland in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Logan, Ipswich and Redlands, with some events to be held in Cairns and Townsville. While the bid relied on extensive use of existing facilities and infrastructure developed for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, an expanded Gabba stadium is to be the centrepiece of the Games. New facilities are expected to include ASM Global’s Brisbane Live indoor arena.

The rejection of a development application for a cable car on Tasmania’s Mount Wellington by Hobart City Council appears to mark the end of plans advanced by Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) over several years. The Council rejected the proposal following an independent planning report recommended it refuse the application on 21 grounds, including that the plan was “not consistent with the values of Wellington Park” and would adversely affect the area due to its scale, mechanisation and emissions. MWCC’s proposal included the cableway with three towers and base station in South Hobart, as well as a restaurant and cafe at the pinnacle, which would require a new building with a maximum height of 11.4 metres. Hobert Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet said the idea of a cable car had split the community for “many, many years”. MWCC, which owns none of the land it is proposing to develop, are expected to lodge an appeal against the rejection with the planning tribunal.

HIB Insurance Brokers able to offer cover for amusement, entertainment and tourism businesses IBF appoints QubicaAMF as exclusive Global Bowling Equipment partner for Tenpin Bowling A new long term agreement granting QubicaAMF the Official Partner status, Exclusive Global Bowling Equipment, until 2030 has been announced by International Bowling Federation (IBF) - the global governing body for the sport of tenpin, ninepin and para bowling - and QubicaAMF, the world’s largest and most innovative bowling products company. This strategic commitment to the IBF ensures extensive QubicaAMF presence in one of the world’s most participated sports. 8 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

In a development to combat the current insurance challenges that businesses across many parts of the leisure industry have been facing, HIB Insurance Brokers have announced that it has access to a liability facility via Coversure Underwriting Agency. Explaining that this facility has been designed for the amusement, attractions, entertainment, events, recreation and tourism industry, HIB Insurance Brokers Managing Director, Mick Alexander advised that cover for individual businesses will be dependent on their risk management protocols, staff training and training registers and daily safety check lists, as well as features that, while not being mandatory, are increasingly desirable such as digital risk management systems and the addition of cameras at key operational points such as on rides. For more information or for a quote, contact Mick Alexander on 0409 002 909, E:

When only the best will do!

Aquatic industry delivers $9 billion in economic, health and social benefits to Australia The economic, health and social benefits of the aquatic industry to Australia are worth more than $9 billion according to a newly released report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. The report, commissioned by the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia, looked at the 2,113 publicly accessible aquatic facilities across the country, finding almost 90% of Australians live within a 20-minute drive of their nearest pool. The report found the sector employs more than 67,000 employees, with women making up almost three-quarters of the workforce. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found the industry provided a social return on investment of $4.87 for every dollar spent operating an aquatic facility in a capital city or $2.18 in regional Australia.

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AUSTSWIM secures Federal Government backing for Removing Barriers program AUSTSWIM has secured program funding through the Federal Department of Social Services for its Removing Barriers initiative. Based on self-reported data in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s 2020 People With Disability in Australia report, people with disability are more likely to have poorer general and mental health than people without disability. Through the Federal Department of Social Services’ Social and Community Participation Grants Program, AUSTSWIM will be launching a range of initiatives aimed at removing barriers for participation for people living with a disability, ensuring that people with a disability, their families and carers are supported to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the same community activities as everyone else.

Industry employees across Sydney stood down without pay The latest COVID-19 lockdown has seen staff at Sydney theatres and Belgravia Leisure facilities across Sydney being stood down without pay during the Coronavirus lockdown. Deprived of operating income, the contract managed sites have been compelled to stand down employess without pay or encourage them to use up annual leave during the lockdown. Explaining the predicament facing the business, Belgravia Leisure Chief Executive, Nick Cox stated “we have done exactly the same as every other management company, including most Council operated venues (adopting) exactly the same arrangements that have been in place every other time the industry has been forced to close venues due to COVID.” Cast members at the theatre productions Hamilton and Come From Away have also been stood down without pay. Acknowledging the further blow to performing arts professionals, Live Performance Australia Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson has reiterated the body’s call for a business interruption fund to cover the performing arts, warning that without support from governments “this will happen again and again”.

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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 9

Australian Surf Life Saving Championships secured for Queensland with 10 year deal

Jamberoo Action Park secures Job Creation grant to drive construction of new eight-lane water slide Jamberoo Action Park has secured a $600,000 grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Job Creation Fund that will contribute to the construction of a new eight-lane water slide. The grant will enable construction of the Velocity Falls aqua racing waterslide, generating construction and seasonal jobs and 30 full-time equivalent jobs once operational. Announcing the funding on site at the Illawarra attraction, local State Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward advised “the attraction combines three exhilarating water rides, an eight lane aqua racer with two thrilling skybox drops and will also include a path for a trackless train to link up all major attractions of the theme park for guests.”

A decade-long deal which secures the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships for Queensland is anticipated to deliver more than $100 million for the Queensland Government’s COVID Economic Recovery Plan. The deal locks in eight Australian Surf Life Saving Championship events between 2023 and 2032. Tourism and Events Queensland had secured the agreement in partnership with Major Events Gold Coast (MEGC) and Sunshine Coast Council. This year, the Australian Championships were held on the Sunshine Coast, generating more than 78,000 visitor room nights, and $16 million for local businesses.

NSW Police offer $1 million reward in appeal for evidence over Luna Park Sydney Ghost Train fire The NSW Government has announced a $1 million reward for any information on the 1979 fire that claimed the lives of six boys and a man on its Ghost Train ride. Following new evidence on the circumstances surrounding the fire having recently been presented in an ABC documentary, the reward is being offered for new information surrounding the tragedy. At the time NSW Police ruled the tragedy was due to a mechanical malfunction but allegations have since been made that the fire was in fact arson and linked to the Sydney underworld.

‘Predatory and exploitative’ Lorna Jane fined $5 million by Federal Court for false COVID-19 prevention claims Leading activewear brand Lorna Jane has been fined $5 million by the Federal Court for claiming its clothing “eliminated” and stopped the spread of COVID-19. Launched in July last year at the height of the first wave of Coronavirus lockdowns, Lorna Jane claimed that its clothing used “a groundbreaking technology” called LJ Shield to prevent the “transferal of all pathogens”. However, in a ruling, Federal Court Justice Darryl Rangiah said the company’s claim sought to exploit fear and concern and was “exploitative, predatory and potentially dangerous”.

New WTTC Economic Trends Report reveals Asia Pacific region hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic According to the new annual Economic Trends Report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Asia Pacific was the region hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic - with the sector’s contribution to GDP dropping a damaging 53.7%, compared to the global fall of 49.1%. The report reveals the full dramatic impact of travel restrictions designed to curb COVID-19 on the global economy, individual regions, and its job losses worldwide. International visitor spending across Asia Pacific, fell by 74.4%, as many countries across the region closed their borders to inbound tourists. Domestic spending witnessed a lower but equally punishing decline of 48.1%

10 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Xponential Fitness’ StretchLab signs master franchise agreement for Australian studios US-based Xponential Fitness has announced that leading North American assisted stretching franchise, StretchLab, has signed a master franchise agreement for Australia. This agreement gives the master franchisee the right to license at least 50 StretchLab studios to potential franchisees in the country over the next several years. One of nine brands owned by Xponential Fitness, StretchLab’s arrival in Australia follows a similar agreement, announced earlier this year, for its Club Pilates chain, the world’s largest Pilates brand, to enter the local market. The Australian agreement is a collaboration between StretchLab and Stretch X Operations Pty Ltd., a privately owned company started by Perth-based entrepreneurs Matt, Bill, and Candice Gordin. for all the latest industry news

Outback Ballooning directors fined $130,000 over death of Stephanie Bernoth in 2013 The directors of a former Alice Springs based outback tourism company - Outback Ballooning - have been handed a combined penalty of $130,000 over the death of 35-year-old NSW tourist, Stephanie Bernoth on 13th July 2013. Outback Ballooning directors Andrea and Jason Livingston were convicted and fined as the Alice Springs Local Court found the company’s failure to comply with work health and safety duties resulted in the passenger’s death. The directors pleaded guilty last month to a breach of section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act). Bernoth died two days after being injured when the scarf she was wearing was sucked into an inflation fan while boarding the balloon near Alice Springs.

Perth Wildcats sale to Sports Entertainment Group confirmed Sports Entertainment Group (SEG) has signed an agreement to purchase 100% of NBL franchise the Perth Wildcats from long-time owner Jack Bendat. SEG Chairman Craig Coleman confirmed the purchase, for an undisclosed sum.

Report shows 2021 Adelaide Festival to have $42.5 million impact on South Australia A 2021 Economic Assessment report by Barry Burgan on behalf of Economic Research Consultants, commissioned by the Adelaide Festival has revealed that the 2021 Adelaide Festival generated an estimated gross expenditure of $42.5 million for South Australia. The 2021 Adelaide Festival ran for 17 days from Friday 26th February to Sunday 14th March. Adelaide Writers’ Week ran for six days and nights from Saturday 27th February to Thursday 4th March. WOMAD ran for four days and nights from Friday 5th March to Monday 8th March.

Leading industry funds Hostplus and Intrust Super to merge Australia’s leading leisure industry super funds Hostplus and Intrust have outlined plans to merge in November 2021, after signing a Successor Fund Transfer Deed. The combination of the two funds will be a huge boost to the clubs, hospitality, recreation, retail, sport and tourism sectors, with Hostplus Chief Executive, David Elia saying the merger represents a significant and positive milestone for the funds and their respective members, contributing employers and stakeholders.

Viva Leisure opens new clubs and launches new GroundUp studio brand Developments at ASX-listed fitness company Viva Leisure has seen it announce the opening of its 110th company owned location, Hiit Republic Shellharbour in NSW. Having opened its first location 26 months ago, this is the 21st Hiit Republic studio in Australia and its eighth in NSW. It has since opened its 22nd site at the Yamanto shopping facility in south east Queensland and its first two locations for its new wellness brand, GroundUp, in Canberra. The new brand will offer yoga, Pilates and barre, with an introduction to the brand advising “we’ve created an inclusive offering that reshapes the boutique studio experience from the ground up. A place that captures the best parts of Pilates, yoga, and barre; where you can get all the support and gear, with none of the judgement.”

Fixed interest rate loan presents pathway for Newcastle Art Gallery expansion to proceed A $35.6 million project to double the size of the Newcastle Art Gallery has been approved by Newcastle City Council. The development, which has received no backing from the Federal or NSW Governments, will be funded by a loan with a fixed interest rate of less than 1%. City of Newcastle has already approved a development application for the project, which includes upgrading and expanding the Gallery to provide modern facilities such as a new café and retail shop, multi-purpose and educational program space, improved display and secure international standard loading dock.


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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 11

New York Stock Exchange listing sees F45 valued at more than US$1.5 billion Australian founded F45 Training made a spectacular debut on the New York Stock Exchange with the company valued at around $2 billion ($US1.46 billion). Making its market debut on 15th July on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol FXLV, the initial public offering of 20.3 million shares was priced at $16 a share and after fluctuations closed at $16.20, a gain of 1.3% on the offer price. Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, who invested in F45 in 2019, was on the NYSE floor as trading started, telling CNBC “the energy (at our gyms) is absolutely incredible.”

Council-owned company responsible for Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre operations goes into liquidation Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre Ltd (MAAC), the public company operating the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre in Northern NSW, has gone into liquidation. The notice of liquidation of the company, of which the Moree Plains Shire Council is the only member, was published on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) site on the same day the Council received a confidential “legal update” during a closed extraordinary council meeting. Information on the ASIC site states: “Notice is given that at a general meeting of the members of the Company held on 29 July 2021, it was resolved that the Company be wound up and that Morgan James Chubb be appointed liquidator(s).”

Experience Co commences building of Great Barrier Reef pontoon Listed tourism and attractions operator Experience Co has announced that it has started building the first new pontoon for the Great Barrier Reef in over a decade. Set to be Located at Moore Reef just 45 kilometres offshore from the city of Cairns, the 1003 metre² new pontoon will be one of the biggest on the Reef and will have a daily capacity of up to 250 guests. These guests will enjoy features such as a water entry point for swimming and snorkelling (the first of its kind on the Great Barrier Reef), a 10-seat air-conditioned underwater observatory with floor to ceiling windows, and a fully functioning scientific lab where reef research and projects will be conducted.

City of Perth withdraws from funding community swimming pool at WACA ground The City of Perth’s Councillors voted unanimously to reject plans to contribute to the funding of a community swimming pool as part of the redevelopment of the WACA ground. Councillors have gone back on the City’s previous agreement to back the facility with $25 million in funding, as part of the broader $1.5 billion Perth City Deal. Perth commissioners agreed last year to contribute $25 million to the West Australian Cricket Association (WACA) aquatic facility, subject to future consideration of a business case.

New survey highlights the value of museums during COVID-19 A survey released by the Council of Australian Museum Directors found that 78 The Australian Museum million visitors attended its 22 museums onsite or online over the past year reflecting the status of museums as being some of the most trusted institutions in society. A recent report by Democracy 2025 (an initiative of the Museum of Australian Democracy and the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra) revealed that 70% of Australians surveyed say they have a high degree of trust in cultural institutions, ranking higher than universities and the media, which is consistent with findings of similar studies of museums internationally. for all the latest industry news 12 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Skippers Canyon Jet ordered to pay $310,000 for 2019 jet boat crash New Zealand’s Queenstown District Court has fined Skippers Canyon Jet Ltd $50,000 and ordered the company to pay $260,000 in reparations for a jet boat crash in 2019 that injured 10 people who had to be evacuated by Helicopter. Maritime New Zealand took the prosecution against Skippers Canyon Jet Ltd under the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) for failing to ensure the health and safety of the jet boat’s passengers and crew. Maritime NZ took the action to ensure the industry is aware of this issue to prevent further accidents of this type occurring.

New club-based Australian Swimming League set to provide elite domestic competition Swimming Australia has announced a partnership with the recently formed private business Australian Swimming League to establish and operate a new domestic swimming competition to fill the gap between big global events and aid the development of the country’s emerging stars. Set to commence with a trial event in early 2022, testing the market for full competition in the last quarter of next year, the new League will be an annual club-based competition that backers hope will provide a fuller calendar for the sport between major global events when it struggles for exposure and attention.

New Aquatic and Recreation Institute Board confirms strategic direction The NSW-based Aquatic and Recreation Institute has confirmed its strategic priorities for the coming year which will include taking the lead in advocating on behalf of the sector and building relationships with government. Holding its Annual General Meeting after a successful industry networking event held at Raging Waters Sydney on 4th June, the Aquatic and Recreation Institute NSW (ARI) also resolved to provide an expanded suite of member and organisational benefits and services. With the networking event having included trade exhibitors, and being attended by record numbers of members and industry representatives, the big item at the AGM was the hotly contested nominations for board member positions with so many applicants that the nominations went to vote.

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VMA says Australia getting vaccinated is the key to live entertainment industry’s road to recovery In response to the National Cabinet’s four phase plan to reopen Australia, the Venue Management Association (Asia and Pacific) Ltd [VMA] is encouraging all their members, member venues and suppliers to the industry to take proactive measures in two key areas. Firstly, the VMA urges those responsible for staff safety to educate staff on the ongoing impacts on the venues’s industry, the pathway forward and the benefits of vaccination. Secondly, to support and communicate with their patrons and customers that the quicker the majority of Australians are vaccinated, the quicker shows, games, events and performances can return at full capacity to VMA member venues.

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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 13

Opening night of Jersey Boys at Wellington’s Opera House. Credit: LK Creative.

New trust to drive return of major musical theatre productions to Wellington A new trust has been created to drive the return of major musical theatre productions to Wellington. Created by chairwoman Sandy Brewer and three other trustees - Sue Windsor, Carol Reed and Paul Gadd - the Capital Theatre Trust has been created to fill what Brewer believes is a void of major musical theatre in New Zealand’s capital. Brewer said Wellington had been missing out on large productions like Les Miserables, which were attracted to other centres around the country. There was pent-up demand for such productions, both among audiences and those involved in their creation.

Pollstar recognises Auckland’s Eden Park as world’s number one stadium Having staged its first ever concert, Auckland’s Eden Park has been named the number one stadium in the world in Pollstar’s mid-year rankings. With the USA-based publication’s rankings recognised as the industry benchmark for live entertainment, Eden Park Chief Executive, Nick Sautner says to be named the number one stadium in the world is a significant achievement not only for the venue but for Auckland and New Zealand.

Council report says assault on lifeguard at Gore Aquatic Centre was ‘harrowing’ A report from the Gore District Council into an assault on a lifeguard at the Gore Aquatic Centre by a patron on 16th April has described the incident as ‘’harrowing”. Reporting on the incident which saw the female lifeguard held under the water for about 10 seconds, Council’s Human Resources Manager, Susan Jones described how the patron tackled one of the lifeguards into the leisure pool at the facility. The report, which advised that the staff member suffered some injuries and sought medical attention, noted that she has since returned to work and is being supported by colleagues and the council organisation. The attacker, McGregor Tume, has subsequently pleaded guilty to charges of threatening to kill, impeding breathing, behaving threateningly and injuring with intent to injure in the Gore District Court. He will be sentenced in the near future. for all the latest industry news 14 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Coinvestor in Elanor Wildlife Park Fund takes major stake in Hunter Valley Zoo Recognising that nature-based and eco-tourism is a rapidly growing sub-sector of the tourism industry in Australia and around the world, Atlas Advisors Australia - a leading wealth manager - has taken a joint stake in Hunter Valley Zoo at Nulkaba, NSW. Atlas Advisors Australia is the sole co-investor in ASX-listed Elanor Investors Group’s Elanor Wildlife Park Fund which purchased the property, bringing the total value of the fund to $60 million. Atlas Advisors Australia is also joint shareholder in Elanor Wildlife Park Fund’s two other wildlife park assets - Featherdale Wildlife Park, in Western Sydney and Mogo Zoo in Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast.

Global survey finds that more than 50% of women harassed while training at the gym A new global survey of gym members by athletic apparel website, RunRepeat finds that 56.37% women experience harassment while training at the gym. To understand how prevalent harassment is in gyms and how it impacts members, gyms, and the industry as a whole, RunRepeat surveyed 3,774 gym members (1107 female and 2667 male) in June of 2021 (40% from the US, 25% from Canada, UK, and Australia, and the rest are distributed through 100+ other countries). Of the female gym members who experienced being harassed: •25.65% stopped using gyms completely or switched gyms •28.69% felt unsafe or uncomfortable at their gym •30.13% changed their gym routine, schedule, or avoided certain areas at the gym •20.19% changed their clothes or appearance when going to the gym When female members were asked, 12.83% said they witnessed harassment occur and 14.54% heard of harassment at their gym from someone else. The results revealed that less than a tenth of gym members (8.85%) experiencing harassment at the gym ever report it.

Jump! Swim Schools franchisor fined $23 million with founder banned from starting new franchises The Federal Court has handed down penalties of $23 million to the former parent company Jump! Swim Schools and banned founder Ian Campbell from starting any new franchise businesses. Following proceedings pursued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the now liquidated franchisor Jump Loops Pty Ltd was ordered by the Federal Court to pay the penalties for making false or misleading representations and wrongly accepting payments from franchisees.

Small Business Ombudsman launches review of AALARA’s Discretionary Mutual Fund proposal The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Bruce Billson has launched a Review of the Discretionary Mutual Fund proposed for businesses in the attractions, recreation and tourism sector unable to secure essential insurance coverage. Billson says the self-generated review, will build on ASBFEO’s Insurance Inquiry as well as ongoing feedback from the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) on behalf of its members - many of which face imminent closure without adequate insurance coverage.

Global Health & Fitness Alliance sets out to prove the exercise industry’s value to society Work is underway on a major new report - The Economic Impact of the Health and Fitness Industry - commissioned by the Global Health & Fitness Alliance (GHFA), conducted by consultants Deloitte, supported by International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and with the World Health Organization a key target audience. Initially covering around 60 countries which between them account for the majority of the global fitness club market, the report, due to be published early in 2022, will analyse the sector’s social and economic contribution and deliver a comprehensive view of its direct and indirect value to society. The GHFA is supported by IHRSA but operates independently and charges no membership fees.

National Sports Convention 2021 to present ‘bold and sustainable agenda’ Set to deliver a “new look” for its 2021 edition in Melbourne, the National Sports Convention has launched its new and extended convention program with a rebranding to the National Sports and Physical Activity Convention (NSC) and a myriad of new initiatives. Scheduled to be held from 9th to 11th November, the Convention has the support of Sport Australia, Sport New Zealand, Sport Singapore, The Victorian Government, Play Australia, various State/Territory Governments and over 30 peak body collaborators. Contact 03 9421 0133.

ASSA and SPASA announce working partnership Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA) and the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia (SPASA) have announced an agreement that will see the bodies partner to work closer together for the betterment of their members and the aquatics industry as a whole. With the Associations supporting different aspects of the aquatics, spa and swimming pool sector, the partnership aims to collaborate and innovate to provide new services to better the industry. Advising that the two Associations see great benefits to their members through shared knowledge and learning, ASSA General Manager, Emily McNeill added “ASSA are excited to confirm this new partnership with SPASA as there are so many ways we can collectively progress the industry and benefit our members.” ASSA and SPASA both have a seat on the National Aquatic Industry Committee (NAIC) and are committed to practical implementation of reducing drowning and improving the safety message.

Lift Brands investment to fast-track Fitstop’s global expansion plans US-based global fitness and wellness company Lift Brands has announced that it has acquired a 30% stake in Brisbanefounded functional training franchise Fitstop. One of the world’s largest wellness franchises, with brands including Snap Fitness and Fitness On Demand, Lift Brands has more than 2500 clubs across 26 countries and 1.5 million members worldwide.


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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 15

Ninja Warrior at Qudos Bank Arena.

Challenged to reach new heights Rohit Maini explains how Qudos Bank Arena scaled Mt Midoriyama amid COVID challenges


ust over one year ago the world of entertainment came to a grinding halt with Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena being one of many venues impacted by COVID-19 and the restrictions that came in its wake. Show after show was postponed or cancelled and the largest indoor entertainment and sporting arena in Australasia remained silent for many months. Finally, in October last year the doors opened again, albeit in a restricted and subdued manner. Despite reduced crowd numbers, mask mandates and social distancing, it was deemed that the show could go on. However, a new challenge presented itself with national and international border closures limiting the ability for international performers to rock the Arena. In coming out the other side, it was essential for the stakeholders of Qudos Bank Arena to think outside the box and find new and exciting opportunities to interact with fans during the pandemic. After engaging with local television production company, Endemol Shine Australia and in collaboration with Sydney Olympic Park Authority and associated stakeholders, ASM Global was able to bring the filming of the television phenomenon Australian Ninja Warrior to their front door. ASM Global also managed to tap into the film studio business, with fellow Endemol Shine Australia’s program ‘Ultimate Tag’ and ITV Studios Australia’s television game show ‘The Cube’ both calling Qudos Bank Arena home for their inaugural seasons. The versatility of Qudos Bank Arena was first showcased when the television cameras started rolling. The Arena floor was transformed into a filming studio, showing its adaptability in effortlessly moving from the enormity of the obstacle courses to the intimacy of the glass cube. In the studio audience on the first day of shooting, Lucinda Pickett commented “it was so nice to have a bit of normality after such a hectic year. 16 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

“I’ve been a regular at Qudos Bank Arena, attending many concerts over the years, but the set up for this made it feel like we had been transported somewhere else, it was really impressive.” The ability to bring the filming of Australian Ninja Warrior to Qudos Bank Arena was a major win. Sydney Olympic Park is no stranger to having elite competition in the precinct with the Ninjas the latest in a long line of athletes fighting to reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport. Taking their operation outside of the Arena, the ASM Global team once again proved their capability to adapt and transform to meet the brief. The course was laid out on the forecourt immediately outside of the Arena, with the soft glow of the Qudos Bank Arena and the Sydney Olympic Park precinct forming the backdrop for the gruelling competition. Over 10 nights, spectators filed into the customised stands erected in the forecourt of the Arena, around a myriad of imposing and challenging obstacles, under the shadow of the towering Mt Midoriyama (the event’s final challenge), to watch the best Ninjas in Australia fight it out for the title of Australian Ninja Warrior. Western Sydney sisters, Vahishta and Rania Bhasin, were among those lucky enough to watch the action of a Semi Final. A vivid tennis follower and general lover of sport, Vahishta was ecstatic to be able to be among the crowd and cheering on the ninjas. While tapping into the film studio business was essential, it was the return to live music and gigs that really caught the headlines. TEG Live and Live Nation Australasia collaborated with the NSW Government to bring to life the first arena concert events held in Australia since the pandemic brought the industry to a grinding halt. The two major COVIDSafe performances of Greatest Southern were held on 28th November and 5th

NBL, The Wiggles, Monster Trucks and Amy Shark at Qudos Bank Arena this year.

December 2020, attracting more than 12,000 fans to enjoy performances by some of Australia’s best artists, including Bernard Fanning, Ocean Alley, Jack River and Matt Corby. With the live music industry having been decimated by COVID-19, the efforts to kick-start a recovery of the industry was a fantastic initiative and a huge undertaking that required many people and entities working together to deliver the shows in a COVIDSafe environment. Further green shoots for the Arena were evident with the return of sport, with Sydney Kings fans able to watch their team take to the court for the 14 regular season games in the National Basketball League (NBL), which was a welcome home for the Arena’s anchor tenant after COVID-19 forced them to play the previous season’s home grand final game without crowds before that series was cancelled prematurely, and title handed to the Perth Wildcats. Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak in May resulted in further lockdown and border closures, and Melbourne’s two NBL teams - United and Phoenix - opted to play their semi-final games at Qudos Bank Arena in June this year. All three games were played in front of very minimal restricted audiences, with Melbourne United winning the series 2-1. Family entertainment returned to Qudos Bank Arena in April with 3 performances of Australia’s number one attraction, The Wiggles with their ‘We’re All Fruit Salad’ shows, enjoyed by almost 23,000 fans. Another successful event hosted at the Arena was Monster Truck Mania with over 23,500 fans in attendance for the two shows. The indoor spectacular featured not only Monster Trucks but ‘crazy backflippin’ Freestyle Motocross and jet cars that entertained all ages. The last time the Arena boasted such impressive attendances was for Michael Bublé in February 2020. Qudos Bank Arena General Manager, Steve Hevern commented “I can’t speak highly enough of the QBA team, not only for the initiatives, flexibility and foresight in making these events work in the current environment, but also for the loyalty, commitment and resilience that they have gifted the business and extraordinary efforts they continue to provide through the most challenging period of the Arena’s history.” Live entertainment at Qudos Bank Arena continues to slowly 18 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

return, kick-started with a recent performance of Amy Shark on 12th June, which will be followed by comedy sensation Sooshi Mango, Synthony (a celebration of dance music), Delta Goodrem, Bat Out Of Hell (The Rock Musical), KISS, Keith Urban and Tame Impala, all on sale for performances over the months leading up to Christmas, along with others to be announced soon. 2022 will start with a bang, with a number of exciting events already on sale of international superstars Faith No More, Backstreet Boys, My Chemical Romance, Rod Stewart, WWE and Alanis Morissette, and there is an unprecedented number of bookings throughout 2022 and 2023 of amazing artists eager to come here to play in front of their Australian fans. Good times are definitely ahead, and ASM Global is confident that Qudos Bank Arena is set to scale its own Mt Midoriyamalike heights. Rohit Maini is Event Services Manager at Qudos Bank Arena. Editor’s note: This feature was written prior to the Greater Sydney Coronavirus lockdown that commenced in late June. At the time of publication, QUDOS Bank Arena is being used as a COVID vaccination centre.



DualSun installation for The University of Queensland.

Doing the Right Thing

Rising energy costs demand that aquatic centres find less carbon-intensive ways to remain operational


ation-wide, at least 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions could be cut from aquatic centres by reducing their energy consumption by just 10%. However, one of the key current sustainability barriers for commercial aquatic centres is offsetting their carbon output and sourcing cost-efficient heating solutions, while running at optimal performance. Centres usually operate for long hours, every day of the year, and have to maintain constant temperatures in the pools and in the spaces surrounding them in summer and winter. Water has to be treated, evaporation and water loss controlled, and slippery floors and moisture dealt with. On top of that, the entire centre has to be heated, which adds a lot of complexity to the selection of suitable heating systems. As a result, water and space heating can account for up to 80% of an aquatic centre’s total energy costs. Advancements in technology and innovation are proving successful for powering aquatic facilities and being sustainable. Gas or electric heating systems are the traditional solutions to run centres, however they are highly carbon-intensive. Supreme Heating, founded in Melbourne in 1990, is a leading and innovative pool heating company. With offices in each state across Australia, the resources available to their clients include service and support capabilities, a nationwide network of outlets, and onsite manufacturing at their Melbourne-based head office and warehouse. The company continually invests resources ensuring quality products and continued innovation towards a sustainable future. The revolutionary product, Heatseeker DualSun,

20 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

simultaneously produces electricity and heating for pools and other hot water applications. It is the first hybrid panel certified in the world. Founder and director Colin Mauger says the company had evolved over 31 years to its strong focus on sustainability. The company services the needs and provides feasible and green solutions for the national residential and commercial swimming pool industry. “Our focus is to consistently pioneer new, energy-efficient heating products, most of which did not exist in the marketplace back in the early 1990s.” Anthony Denahy who has recently joined the team as the Commercial Business Development Manager for DualSun, explains “our domestic business has been solid largely as a result of people finding that they couldn’t travel and were spending more time at home. “As a result, they wanted to improve or add to their backyard pools, making their backyard their resort.” In the commercial sector, Denahy stated “we have a very strong interest in DualSun and our other commercial products for large commercial projects and local government facilities for environmentally friendly and responsible solutions for pool heating.” With its product range having expanded from thermal pool covers and rollers along with a range of pool heating systems, since 2018 Supreme Heating has offered the French-made Heatseeker DualSun hybrid solar panel to the market, as the product’s sole distributor in Australia. A multi-award-winning hybrid solar panel, Heatseeker

DualSun can be fitted to a range of roofs, large and small.

DualSun installation at Bundaberg Regional Council’s Isis War Memorial Swimming Pool (above and below right).

DualSun provides two solutions in one footprint and secured a host of awards for sustainability and ‘product of the year’ when released in Australia. Advising of the significance of DualSun for aquatic centres, Mauger says “with the ongoing shifts in customer expectations - and as the Federal Government aims to meet the emission reduction targets - there is a degree of uncertainty around the use of natural gas, electricity generation, and energy prices. “In such a climate, sustainability and sustainable products are critical for achieving success and creating positive outcomes for the industry. Pools use a lot of energy and we are looking to help local governments and operators reduce energy costs with environmentally friendly solutions rather than using fossil fuels. “Most of the thermal energy going into an indoor aquatic centre is used to heat pool water to around 27-29 degrees Celsius. That warm water evaporates, absorbing large amounts of energy. Pools are essentially a big evaporative cooler – you have this big body of water from which air strips the heat out and if you are using a fossil-fuelled heat source it takes an excessive amount of energy to restore that heat. “It’s the industry’s responsibility - the designers, the engineers, the pool builders, and facility managers - to make sure our pools are running sustainably. Our pools are such a costly asset so, the responsibility of all involved operating them as cost-efficiently and as environmentally friendly as possible and is something end-users and community expectations will increasingly demand.” In practice, the installation of DualSun hybrid solar panels sees the utilisation of excess heat from the photovoltaic (PV) panels to provide electricity and thermal heating for commercial aquatic facilties. Essentially, the panel simultaneously produces photovoltaic electricity for the building and heated water for the pool. The electricity generated by the high efficiency monocrystalline cells can cover all the electricity needs of the swimming pool

while any surplus electricity can be self-consumed in the commercial swimming pool facility, or returned to the grid for a feed-in tariff or net-metering program. The patented ultra-thin heat exchanger is completely integrated into the panel. As the pool water flows through the heat exchanger, the water is heated while simultaneously cooling the panel. This results in a highly efficient transfer of heat between the photovoltaic surface and the water circulation on the underside. Traditional photovoltaic panels generate much more heat than electricity. The cooling effect on the DualSun panel allows the photovoltaic electrical generation to be maintained, and increases peak performance by up to 20%. A DualSun installation generating heated water and solar electricity produces up to four times more energy than a standard PV installation. Supreme Heating’s latest project was at The University of Queensland, with 326 Heatseeker DualSun panels installed. The system provides electricity for their buildings as well as heating their three pools. The University’s mission was to showcase the benefits of committing to green energy by building the largest DualSun PVT system in the world. The system has provided the University with an initial 90% offset of all associated heating and with, expected rising energy prices, will become 100% renewable. The roof space could not accommodate a separate PV electric panel and a conventional solar pool heating system; but with DualSun, they could. Mauger concludes “our dedication to our employees, customers, and community, fuelled by our passion for providing innovative, renewable and sustainable solutions, has been the foundation of our success and will continue to drive Supreme Heating for years to come.” Supreme Heating has been an industry leader for over 30 years, providing pool heating solutions in Australia, continually investing resources to ensure quality products and continued innovation.

22 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

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Nepean Swim & Fitness.

Learn-to-Swim Service is Essential With swim schools facing permanent closure, Karen Bentley calls for learn-to-swim services to be classed as an essential service


t’s time for swim schools to be reclassified as an essential service to reduce drownings and keep Australian children safer. Drowning remains the number one cause of accidental death among children aged five years and under in Australia and I believe that this tragic statistic will not improve with swim schools across the country having been repeatedly closed during Coronavirus lockdowns. With swim schools across the nation not classed as an essential service, thousands of Australian children have missed out on learning this crucial lifesaving skill over the past 16 months. Bentley also advised that despite a 100% decrease in income during lockdown, swim schools are struggling to obtain government assistance, threatening their ability to reopen after lockdown. While there are a number of important drowning prevention initiatives, learning to swim is by far the primary driver to control our national drowning statistics. Swim safety is achieved by skill repetition, and crucial swimming skills learnt are lost without practice. 12 children aged 0-4 years drowned in Australia in 2019/20, a 37% decrease on the previous year (and) we are very concerned that repeated lockdowns will

have a tragic influence on these figures. You only have to look at what happened last year in Victoria - following multiple lockdowns, Victoria reported a record number of drownings from July to December. I believe that swim schools should be recognised as an essential educational facility and should be treated the same way as pre-school and other educational institutions. Furthermore, swim schools should be exempt from the payroll limit rendering us ineligible for government assistance during lockdown, in the same way that tourism, accommodation and

24 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

hospitality are exempt - at least cafes and restaurants can serve takeaway, whereas we are unable to trade at all. It just doesn’t seem right. And we are not alone - many local businesses face the same difficulties - (but) the exemptions seem pretty arbitrary. While swim schools have been closed in lockdown, despite the proven safety of the indoor learn-to-swim centre environment, other early learning settings remain open. This is shown by a recent study from the UK’s Imperial College which identified that chlorine deactivates the Coronavirus in 30 seconds and a US study of over 300,000 patrons of indoor swimming pools that reported zero incidents of COVID-19 infections in the aquatic environment. It’s frustrating and inconsistent that you can take your child to preschool, daycare, vacation care, Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi and Bunnings during lockdown, but you can’t bring them to small learn to swim classes in an environment that has been proven safe multiple times both here and overseas, with defined learnto-swim class times ensuring limited occupancy. We too have COVIDSafety plans, QR code check in and socially distancing measures in place, so we can also record the visit data as mandated, whilst delivering a lifesaving skill. With swim schools across the country in a difficult financial position, Terry Spinks, Operations Manager at Nepean Swim and Fitness, commented “unfortunately, the long term prognosis for swim schools isn’t looking good. “Most are small ‘Mum and Dad’ businesses who have been hit hard by Covid and are only just beginning to recover. During lockdown we earn zero income and given the nature of our business will still incur significant costs whilst closed, but we are not eligible for any financial assistance from the NSW government during this recent lockdown.” Terry Spinks (left) and Karen Bentley of Nepean Swim & Fitness.






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The Imperial College study by leading UK virologist and expert in respiratory viruses from the Department of Infectious Disease, Professor Wendy Barclay, found that swimming pool water can inactivate the COVID-19 virus in only 30 seconds. Professor Barclay explained “by mixing the virus with swimming pool water …. we could show that the virus does not survive in swimming pool water: it was no longer infectious. That, coupled with the huge dilution factor of virus that might find its way into a swimming pool from an infected person, suggests the chance of contracting COVID-19 from swimming pool water is negligible.” Furthermore, the US study conducted by the New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance reported that despite over 300,000 people attending the 60 facilities studied since reopening after the US lockdown, zero people were infected in those facilities. The study further suggested that aquatic facilities may be particularly safe environments due to “droplets being carried away from swimmers in warm, humid air”, and the fact that “COVID-19 droplets falling into the water are neutralised by chlorine”. Furthermore, the study found that ‘when a swimmer vigorously exhales, it is nearly always with their face in the water.” In a recent report prepared for Swimming Victoria, Australian Elite Swimming Coach Joanne Love, Director of Proactive Performance Australia noted “today’s pools are sophisticated facilities with operating plants, filtration and water quality systems, and environmental air controls. “However, from outdated information based on pools of the past, there is a misconception from the general public and at times, medical professionals, who mistakenly ascribe pools to be the contributor to the spread of illnesses. “Swimming pools are highly regulated and controlled environments, with strict mandated operational and water quality guidelines (and) the majority of today’s pool facilities operate automatic systems, where water quality can be tested and adjusted every two minutes. “These disinfection systems ensure a safe environment which inhibits the spread of bacterial germs and viruses.” Love’s research concluded that “based on the evidence provided in recent studies, the current water quality operations of swimming pools meet the requirements to eliminate transmission (if it occurs) in swimming pool water.” Love’s research also affirms that planning and management of aquatic programs is important in preventing infection, stating “this is in line with structured programs such as learn to swim,

squad swimming and supervised rehabilitation programs, which can maintain close supervision of physical distancing, up to date contact details and the continued preservation of the hygienic environment.” The current NSW Public Health Order (Division 4 - paragraph 24) states that “nothing in this clause prevents the use of premises to (a) to provide a service to assist vulnerable members of the public…and (b) as an early education and care facility.” Alan Bentley, also a Director of Nepean Swim and Fitness explains “this clause is particularly relevant to the learn to swim industry - the majority of our facilities patrons are young children learning to swim, including children with special needs, and people of all ages requiring the water for physical rehabilitation. “Surely these people can all be classed as vulnerable, and our services classified as education and care? Children are vulnerable if they cannot swim. “We are not requesting special treatment or looking for any kind of loophole to operate within what we understand is an incredibly serious pandemic, we just want a level playing field and fair consideration of our unique industry and environment. We are strongly recommending to government that we are reclassified as an essential educational facility so that we can continue to deliver this vital service to the community in a safe and controlled environment without further shutdown periods to prevent even more lessons being missed. “We also ask that the payroll limit exemption to be eligible for the current NSW government assistance is extended to include swim schools. Our swim school has thrived locally for 30 years previous to COVID, but along with hundreds of other swim schools nationally we potentially run the risk of not being able to reopen our doors, depriving thousands of local children of lifesaving swim safety education, and many local residents of employment.” Spinks added “I call on the government to reclassify us as an essential educational service - the irony is we are classified as such for GST purposes, so it is simply an extension of that classification. However, despite an abundance of international research to support our case, our request for consideration seems to be falling on deaf ears. This could have dire consequences for the children of NSW and across the country, many of whom already are not hitting their age appropriate swimming milestones.” Karen Bentley is Director of Nepean Swim & Fitness in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith.

Rackley Swimming opens new facility in Yamanto Central retail development Rackley Swimming has opened its latest swim school in the Yamanto Central retail development in south east Queensland. Rackley Swimming Yamanto is the group’s 27th site located across south east Queensland, with two heated Learn to Swim pools adjacent to other consumer-centric retail offerings within the new Yamanto Central shopping mall. Rackley Swimming General Manager, Cameron Speechley says the centre is the “pinnacle” of more than 20 years’ experience providing local families quality swimming lessons, commenting “this centre is designed around the ultimate focus on the customer. From climate-controlled pool areas, airconditioned viewing areas, child’s play area, and swim shop, children and parents will receive a best in class experience, all while enjoying the benefits of swimming.” The purpose-built facility is Rackley Swimming’s fourth shopping centre swim school site, following a shift to non26 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

traditional retail settings in developing areas. Advising that the launch will particularly benefit those who have fallen behind in swimming progression due to COVID lockdowns and restrictions closing centres in 2020, Rackley Swimming Chief Executive, Reece Rackley, noted “ensuring the community has a revitalised and first-class facility to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles is at the core of our business and after many families missed out on lessons last year due to the pandemic, the facility could not have arrived at a better time. “We could not pick a better location and neighbourhood to expand our family swim school.” With retail locations increasingly looking at diverse leisure offering to attracts not only shoppers but other consumer visits, Yamanto Central also features two Viva Leisure fitness facilities - a Club Lime gym and a hiit republic studio. Yamanto Central is located 45 kilometres south west of central Brisbane.

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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 27

Aussie World’s SX360 ride, supplied by Italian ride manufacturer Technical Park.

Local Support Stacey Grims explains how local support is helping Aussie World through the challenges of the past year


ince first opening its gates to excited Sunshine Coast locals and visitors, the Aussie World entertainment precinct has evolved and continued to add more attractions and events that keep people coming back to experience something new. Despite interruptions to the tourism industry in recent times, the park has continued to provide new experiences for those looking to explore their own backyard and gained plenty of support from the local community. When the gates reopened at Aussie World following the initial COVID-19 lockdown in the first half of 2020, the park noticed a demand from local families who could not wait to get out of the house and enjoy what the Sunshine Coast had to offer. Aussie World’s relaunched Ride the Night events were a sell-out during the spring school holidays, creating a new and exciting experience for those families, as well as adults looking for some adrenaline-packed adventure. Since 2011, Aussie World has added a variety of attractions, and updated its existing rides including the introduction of childrens’ favourites Bug Ride and Bombora Bounce drop and twist tower; The Wasp thrill ride; new dodgem cars and Speed Stars racing cars, as well as ongoing upgrades to keep the park looking fresh. The most recent ride opening was the SX360 in June 2021, which was a $2.5 million investment and a further boost to visitor numbers, delivering on its promise to introduce new products into the Sunshine Coast tourism market. 28 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

While Aussie World has long been known as a destination for young families, the SX360 is opening the park up to a new market, with an increase in thrill rides being introduced. The SX360 is Australia’s tallest and fastest 360-degree pendulum swing, reaching speeds of 80km/h while launching 32 metres into the air and completing four inversions up to 5Gs. While there has been limited interstate travel in the last 12 months due to border restrictions, the support has continued from the local community, including the Queensland and Sunshine Coast tourism organisations who helped officially open the new thrill ride. Aussie World Manager, Shannon Fay explains “the COVID lockdown and border restrictions did affect visitation at Aussie


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Aussie World’s soon-to-open spinning rollercoaster, the Dingo Racer.

World, but we still saw a lot of support, particularly from locals who wanted to get the family out and about, and those from the drive market, looking for new experiences in their own backyard. “Another great support to us has been Visit Sunshine Coast, who have created some fantastic opportunities for us to feature in TV shows and take part in ride openings and media familiarisations to raise awareness of what we have on offer.” The official launch of the SX360 was attended by representatives of Tourism and Events Queensland and Visit Sunshine Coast who were among the first to experience the thrills of the ride and had some positive words to say about the future of the park. Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe highlighted how the state government had helped Aussie World get the SX360 off the ground, noting “investment in new tourism

30 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

experiences like the SX360 support local jobs and our Economic Recovery Plan for Sunshine Coast tourism. “Aussie World is a good example of the tourism industry rebuilding better for the future.” Visit Sunshine Coast Industry and Membership Development Manager, Andrew Fairbairn is also enthusiastic about the new ride, adding “new products and experiences are an important part of keeping up with consumer demand. “This opening provides fresh incentive for visitors to stay longer and spend more, entice new visitors to the region and encourage return travellers to try something they can’t anywhere else in the country.” Aussie World will soon welcome a new spinning coaster, called the Dingo Racer, which will be a classic medium sized rollercoaster designed for all ages, with construction well and truly underway. The spinning rollercoaster car will reach a height of 14 metres, before twisting and turning along the track reaching speeds of up to 72km/h. Fay added “while the park is still focused on family attractions, there has been an increase in demand for bigger, adrenalinfuelled thrill rides, particularly for the teen and young adults markets. “This is where Aussie World intends to grow in the coming years, while still looking after the families.” Aussie World’s Banana Bender Pub has also continued hosting popular ticketed events such as the Halloween event in October 2020, which attracted thousands of visitors, and the iconic Great Australian Dunny Races held recently. Regular live concerts, comedy acts and shows are held at the two venues’ adjoining theatre, The Shed, which provides thousands of locals with entertainment throughout the year. There is no doubt that Aussie World and the Banana Bender Pub have grown into venues that appeal to all age groups and interests, and with the ongoing development of the precinct, the new experiences will continue to grow. Stacey Grims is founder and Director for Influence Public Relations.

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Sarah Walsh set a new Oceania record in the T44 long jump at her Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Credit: Paralympics Australia.

Paralympics Australia aims for 2032 Brisbane Games to deliver societal change David Sygall of Paralympics Australia sees that Brisbane and South East Queensland’s hosting of the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics Games will supercharge a decades-long journey to embed Para-sport as a means for societal change.

risbane and South East Queensland’s successful hosting bid for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics Games represents B the culmination of years of collaboration between the Federal Government, Queensland Government, Brisbane City Council and other local governments in South East Queensland, in partnership with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia. Brisbane 2032 will build on the powerful legacies of the landmark Sydney 2000 Paralympics, the London 2012 Paralympics where social legacy outcomes came of age, and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, which set new standards for accessibility and equality for Para-sports and Para-athletes. Paralympics Australia President Jock O’Callaghan said the impacts of Brisbane 2032 would reinforce the Paralympic Movement’s strength in demonstrating what people with a disability can achieve and contribute in sport and beyond, and how and why they should be supported to realise their goals. 32 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

O’Callaghan states “we (now) begin the next chapter of a quest that started when the first Paralympic Games was staged, in Rome in 1960 - that is, the mission to facilitate fair recognition and opportunities for people who live with a disability. “Since those first Games, the Paralympics has grown to become far and away the world’s biggest event for promoting inclusion, a global showcase of the true value of sport. “This means that hosting the Games opens up extensive opportunities. Over the next decade, as we lead into Brisbane 2032, long term benefits will be realised across Australia, including in employment, skills, education, health and wellbeing outcomes, higher sporting participation rates, and in culture and community connection. “Our vision and plans are ambitious, as they should be. We will be guided by a relentless focus on inclusion, diversity and accessibility and we’ll be driven by the Paralympic ideals of determination, equality, inspiration and courage.” The pillars upon which Paralympics Australia and its Games partners will pursue their targets are: Establishing greater sport participation: We will establish new community programs and expand existing ones to encourage greater awareness and participation in sport, especially for people with a disability. These will include ‘Come and Try’ events, community sport forums and subsidised equipment funds. Our shared goal is to engage in sport a further 500,000 people with a disability by 2032. Increasing social inclusion and community connection for people with a disability: We will develop and implement extensive campaigns and strategies and engage closely with governments, human rights

Rio 2016 Dylan Alcott Quad Singles Semifinal Wheelchair Tennis. Credit: Paralympics Australia.

and anti-discrimination agencies, and disability and inclusion organisations to create and embed positive perceptions around disability. Advancing physical and mental health goals: We will use the 2032 Games profile to promote the value of participation in sport and its quantifiable social and physical health benefits. We will work with governments to advance health and physical outcomes by aligning with the goals of Australia’s Long-Term National Health Plan, National Obesity Strategy and National Preventative Health Strategy. Our aim is to reduce inactivity among Australians by 15% by 2030. An extensive schools and education program: Brisbane 2032 will include Australia’s most extensive schools education program, modelled on Paralympics Australia’s successful Paralympic Education Program, which aims to challenge students’ perceptions and attitudes towards people with a disability. This is carried out by inviting Paralympians into schools nationally and teaching students about the Paralympic Games and Para-sports, while providing students with a disability an introduction to Para-sport and the opportunities created by the Paralympic Movement. Facilitating greater employment opportunities: Just as the London 2012 Paralympics transformed attitudes in Great Britain and led to a steep increase in employment of people with a disability, we will work with the Federal and Queensland Governments and Brisbane and regional councils to achieve similar outcomes by creating new and innovative jobs for people with a disability and encouraging businesses to embrace inclusion. Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Para swimming Monique Murphy. Credit: Paralympics Australia Speedo strengthened their commitment to Australian Paralympic Team with renewed partnership for Tokyo 2020.

ASM Global’s planned Brisbane Live! (Brisbane Arena) will be a key 2032 Games venue.

Furthering integrated government engagement: We will advocate for Governments to deliver investment and pass legislation that will benefit future generations of people living with disability. Aligning with Sustainable Development Goals: Brisbane 2032 will align with the International Paralympic Committee’s commitment to advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, including promoting greater inclusion in sport for women with a disability. Paralympics Australia Chief Executive, Lynne Anderson (who will step down at the end of the year) added “many people don’t yet truly realise the benefits that flow from a Paralympic Games. It’s not just about sporting performances, there is so much more that the Paralympic Games offers by shining a spotlight on the strength of diversity in communities. “The real key for us as custodians of the Paralympic Movement in Australia is about the social impact that the 2032 Paralympic Games will bring. The fact is there is still inequity for Australians with a disability. There isn’t universal accessibility to venues or transport. Those with a disability who want to try a new sport or find a new club don’t always have that chance through no fault of their own. It is because our society is still not equipped to cater for all abilities. “We know the Paralympic Games challenges stereotypes, changes perceptions and helps break down barriers. We want these Games to leave the enduring legacy of a more cohesive and inclusive Australia. “The sporting spectacle of a Paralympic Games in 2032 will be incredible. Once you go to a Paralympic Games, you are changed. You can’t not be.” David Sygall is Communications Manager at Paralympics Australia. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 33

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Ancient ways, modern growth Katherine Johnston and Ophelia Yeung chart the rise of Mindful Movement, a US$29 billion segment of the global wellness market


ractices such as yoga and tai chi have commanded a following for thousands of years, but the mass, worldwide adoption of mindful movement is a relatively recent phenomenon. Over the last couple of decades, many of these ancient or long-standing practices have been co-opted by the world of fitness, adapted to appeal to modern gym-goers. Alongside this trend, our concept of exercise and fitness is also evolving - from workouts characterised by pounding, pumping, fat burn and muscle building toward more deliberate, mindful modules focused on toning, balance, flexibility, alignment and breath. Yoga, Pilates and barre have become exercise staples from high-end comprehensive gyms to neighbourhood YMCAs; their rising popularity has spawned independent studios and branded chains all across the world. In Move to be Well: The Global Economy of Physical Activity, Global Wellness Institute (GWI) researchers defined mindful movement and provided the first-ever global and country-level data on this popular and fast-growing wellness segment. The ‘mindful movement’ segment captures the exercise modalities that combine movement with mental/internal focus, body awareness, and controlled breathing, with the intention to improve strength, balance, flexibility, posture and body alignment, and overall health. Mindful movement includes activities such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, Pilates, stretch and barre, as well as other less mainstream somatic, bodywork, and energy-based methods such as Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis, Nia Technique, Feldenkrais Method, and 5Rhythms. While these classes are increasingly offered at gyms and fitness studios as part of a comprehensive fitness class offering, consumers usually turn to them with the intentions of improving mind-body health and mental focus, and for stress-relief and mindfulness, in addition to physical exercise. The participants in this market are primarily (but not exclusively) adults.

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Meditation is not included in GWI’s measurement of the mindful movement market. While meditation occupies an important place along a continuum of mind-body health modalities, this particular study and dataset focus on physical activity. Mindful movements that incorporate meditative aspects, such as yoga, tai chi and qigong, are included; we have specifically chosen to use the terminology “mindful movement” to describe this segment of physical activities in order to emphasise the ‘movement’ component and avoid confusion (since many people associate the term ‘mind-body’ with meditation). GWI explores meditation in a separate report on mental wellness. How big is the mindful movement market? GWI estimated that mindful movement represented US$29.1 billion in consumer expenditures in 2018. The market is concentrated in higherincome countries, but practices are quickly spreading throughout the world. GWI estimates that 3.8% of the world’s population participates in mindful movement activities on a regular basis, with yoga the predominant activity, followed by tai chi and qigong, Pilates, barre, and a range of other niche activities that are less mainstream (such as gyrotonics - a movement method that stimulates the nervous system, increases range of motion, and improves strength and movement efficiency - and Feldenkrais - a system of physical exercise that aims to improve human functioning by increasing self-awareness through movement). Worldwide, people participating in mindful movement spent an average of US$101 per year in 2018. This spending level may initially seem low when one considers that the cost of a single yoga or barre class can range from US$10 to $US30 in many specialised studios and full-service gyms around the world, and the cost of equipment-based Pilates training is even higher. However, it is important to keep in mind that the rapidly rising popularity of mindful movement practices has been accompanied by a proliferation of ways in which to participate


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- in addition to the thousands of chains and independent yoga and barre studios and classes in comprehensive gyms, there are now classes in YMCAs and community centres, streaming apps, books and instructional DVDs. This is especially the case with yoga. A significant portion of the growth in yoga practice worldwide is in online, at home, and low-cost methods of practicing, which is expanding access and lowering cost barriers to participation. What is driving growth in the mindful movement market? There are several factors underlying the rapid proliferation of mindful movement and mind-body practices. Our fastpaced, stressful modern lives are fuelling the demand for slower-paced, mindful movement and exercise. Among the overworked, sleep-deprived and anxiety-ridden, as well as those who suffer from chronic pain and disease, many are seeking relief in exercise, physical activities and non-medical solutions. Across the board, there is growing interest in, and increasing recognition of, the importance of mind-body health. Emerging scientific and clinical studies are offering preliminary

endorsements of the efficacy of yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and other mindful movement practices in the mitigation of hypertension, back pain, anxiety and depression, cognitive decline, fall risks in older adults, and other health conditions. While some mindful movement practices have deep and ancient roots, many people are attracted to the physical and mental benefits they experience from these practices and do not necessarily subscribe to the underlying spirituality, philosophies and systems (such as Hinduism, Ayurveda, Taoism, Buddhism, chakra, chi and energy flow). Purists may cringe at the proliferation of ‘power vinyasa yoga’ and ‘yogalates’, but the mainstreaming of these longstanding practices has created a powerful intersection between the fields of exercise/fitness and mental wellness. This growing intersection also brings other benefits, such as drawing more attention to breathing, balance, alignment, posture, injury prevention, recovery and healing in the fast-paced world of fitness. Katherine Johnston and Ophelia Yeung are senior research fellows with the Global Wellness Institute.

Barre classes are the world’s most-searched fitness class trend

Research conducted recently by online comparison service Compare the Market - has determined that Barre classes were the world’s most-searched fitness class trend between 2005 and 2020. Using Google Trends and search volume data, Compare the Market has created a racing bar chart to indicate search volume trends for various fitness classes in the world’s 15 highest GDP countries. The research covers a range of 38 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

different fitness classes – including yoga, HIIT and box fitness which were determined to be the top 15 most-searched around the world. The results provide some interesting insight into how the popularity of various fitness ‘movements’ have changed in the last 15 years. Of those included, Barre classes returned the highest search volume per month with 170,000 global searches in June 2020. Second place was a considerable distance behind, with spin classes turning over 90,500 searches in the same period. Les Mills’ BODYCOMBAT had the lowest search volume of the terms included, with a total of 2,900. The research also included a country-level breakdown of the data. In Australia specifically, pole dancing held the lead between 2005 and 2009, but was soon overshadowed by yoga and Bodycombat. Not all countries presented search volume for every fitness trend. Germany, Russia and Japan showed data for as little as two of the included search terms. Alternatively, the most common search terms across the country-level breakdown were clearly identifiable as Pilates, spin, yoga and Zumba.

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Willoughby City Council’s Gore Hill Oval in Sydney is a flagship sports field development using artificial turf. Credit: Willoughby City Council.

Surface Tensions Martin Sheppard explores Perceptions, Reality and Arguments around Synthetic Sports fields


n March this year, the Sydney Morning Herald and various associated papers featured an article on the community concern regarding Councils across Sydney replacing old grass ovals with synthetic playing fields. By quoting various ‘experts’ who offered emotional commentary to the argument in areas that they were not qualified in, the NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister, Rob Stokes was prompted to order his department to review the sustainability of artificial turf playing surfaces The question should be asked, why has this come about? Over the past decade or so, as the intensity of populations has increased in inner-metro municipalities, the natural turf sports fields have become more stressed with the intense usage. Due not only to the increased population needs, but also the extension of some sports codes from winter into summer competitions, natural turf fields have less time to rejuvenate. Artificial turf allows near year round use to cater for increased sports field demand.

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The consequence of which is that with up to 50 hour usage over 30 or more weeks of the year, no principle style field can cope with that intensity. Some local governments have rightly invested in better natural turf infrastructure, such as improved drainage and irrigation which reduces some of the stress on natural grass. It allows the grass to manage the increased loads better, but still cannot cope with 100+ children/athletes, over 40 or so hours a week. This is when many local Councils explore the use of synthetic technology. While increased access to sports fields is welcomed by participants, community groups are often less happy with such change and all-too-often look to arguments to prevent synthetic playing field developments. Fuelled by internet research they raise alarms, which in turn encourages the broader community to stand-up with this argument. This is where mis-information fuels perceptions, which turns into reality. The consultation program being undertaken on Minister Stokes behalf, between the community groups, users and local government has been facilitated by environmental consultants, looking to achieve a balance between usege needs and environmental concerns. Findings from this review are due to be presented to Minister Stokes in the near future. The reality is that the majority of the community concerns can be addressed easily, their issues are actually masking their real concerns. In the past decade, all of the community ‘calls to action’ have been because the community feel that they are going to be displaced or inconvenienced by the synthetic turf field being installed. Their fear is that ‘their’ parkland will be so busy that they won’t be able to walk their dogs when they want or take the family down for a kick-around, or that it will be so noisy due to the added usage. Indeed the added usage will have the lights on longer, more cars and even reduce value of their property.

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I would say that to counter this, the community need to be part of the journey, involved by ensuring good consultation is conducted and some pragmatic management practices introduced. The answers to the key concerns that objectors raise include: •Microplastics - The concern about the small pieces of rubber infill will migrate from the field into the soil or water courses. Although this was possible in earlier designs, the latest designs include mitigation strategies to minimise this. The Australian standard TR CEN 17519 Guide on how to minimise infill dispersion into the environment, has been approved in April 2021 by the Standards Australia Committee, with organisations including Play Australia, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Scouts Australia, Kidsafe Australia, Sydney Children’s Hospital network and various engineering, landscaping and industry groups. Smart Connection Consultancy has also published a new Smart Guide - Volume 7: Minimising the Impact of Microplastics in the Environment, which identifies 25 ways to reduce the impact and migration of microplastics. Embracing these suggestions to the design, the procurement, construction and management, will reduce 99% of any migration of microplastics. •Injuries - Significant international research has been used to reduce injuries by defining the performance standards of synthetic sports surfaces which are far in excess of the approach Australia takes to local community sports natural turf fields. Each of our sports adopt these International Sports Federation standards and have agreed to standards specific to Australian needs. •Accessibility - All sports encourage greater and broader usage by all cohorts of the community and are committed to ensuring that the fields should not be locked up and any fences are low and should be used to protect passive users of the parkland. •Economic Costs - Although the initial cost may seem higher, the fields allow for three times the usage when compared with those of natural turf fields. When these figures are made comparable the synthetic fields are actually cheaper per hour of use to build, maintain and replace over 10, 20 and 30 years. •Recycling at end of life - All new fields should be designed in accordance with sustainable best practice, with only fields that can be recycled fully once their end of life is achieved. A new recycling company is currently looking to invest into Australia to accommodate these fields, it is estimated that this will be in the next two to three years. •Heat - The surfaces do get warmer than natural fields in certain circumstances (UV radiation high and no clouds) and similar to 42 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

wet weather, when natural turf fields have to be closed on either safety grounds or to protect the field for future use. This may be up to 10 days a year in wet weather and synthetic fields are at the opposite end of the spectrum. It needs to be accepted that in certain parts of Australia that the heat could impact their playing experience and may need to be closed. All sports have their own heat policies and each sport has agreed to review these with the synthetic fields. The challenge will always be that some people in the community are not interested in sport and have created their lifestyles around the parks and playing fields in their area. Local government has to balance their commitment to providing opportunities for people to play and recreate with environmental management of their open space. With the continued growth of inner city living, the density of our populations continues to provide challenges to local governments. Synthetic surfaces are one way of addressing this challenge, especially when there is a lack of open space. I suggest 10 ways of making the planning process easier for the community could include: 1.Plan synthetic football fields to be part of a larger district set of playing fields, not just a single field if possible 2.Consider the design to be multi-sport and not just for single use 3.Ensure that microplastics, environmental and health best practice guides are adopted 4.Explore fields being placed on top of car parks and buildings to reduce loss of natural playing fields where possible 5.Assess ability for synthetics to collect water for neighbouring fields to allow them to be watered 6.Where residential communities are close to the park, consider the use of them and lights closing at 9.30pm 7.Develop a masterplan for the site to ensure passive and community usage is also ‘upgraded’ on the site 8.Address car parking, lights and noise to the area through secondary environmental design 9.Ensure that the system procured can be 100% recycled at the end of its life and where possible, use components that can be re-used (such as shockpads with 30 years of useage) 10.Gain the support for the design, management and maintenance from key community sports groups Martin Sheppard, Managing Director of the Smart Connection Consultancy Pty Ltd and Chair of ActiveXchange Australia & NZ, is a leading industry consultant specialising in sports surface provision.



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Inma performance Adelaide Fringe 2021 Credit: Jordan Gollan. For Adelaide Fringe 2021, a total of $52,000 was raised for artists through the new ticketing initiative ‘Double Your Applause’, which invited audiences to buy two seats – one for themselves and one as a donation for the empty COVIDSafe seat next to them.

Boot up the Arts Research shows that Australian arts and culture will need a ‘total reboot’ after COVID. Karen Sweaney explains


newly released study from the Australia Institute warns that the ongoing effects of the Coronavirus pandemic will see some “big casualties” in the cultural sector and that a “total public-led reboot” will be required to the ways that governments back the arts. Published at the end of July, the new research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, by Senior Economist Alison Pennington and Monash University’s Ben Eltham, reveals the ongoing and devastating impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s arts and entertainment sector and provides a series of recommendations to governments to reboot the creative sector after the crisis. Advising that the sector needs a reconstruction program of substantial, coordinated and sustained public investment if it is to survive let alone “snap back” after the COVID shutdown, Eltham of Monash University’s school of media, film and journalism, explained “it was urgent last year, (but) now it’s beyond urgent. “We’ve already seen a wave of small company insolvencies across the sector over the past year. “One of the tragedies the sector faces now is that the government has dismantled so many of what were already late policy responses, JobKeeper, for example. Without it, a lot of major companies are in trouble.” Worse still, he said, the loss of jobs and the exodus of skilled live performance workers into other areas would blight Australia’s culture sector for years. The picture captured in the report, Creativity in Crisis: Rebooting Australia’s Arts & Entertainment Sector, which was commissioned by the Media, Arts and Entertainment Alliance, is grim. 44 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Eltham and co-author Pennington estimate the arts and culture sector employs (at its broadest measure) more than 350,000 people but that this employment, even prior to the current pandemic in February 2021, was characterised by about 45% of employees being in casual roles without access to basic entitlements including holiday and sick leave and superannuation. Advising that casual employment has since increased and job insecurity was “endemic”, the report noted that, even with JobKeeper, wages in the sector declined sharply last year, dropping from an average $1,525 a week in November 2019 to $1,464 in November 2020. Cairns-based artist Hayley Gillespie with her roving puppet show Tropical Punch to Carnival on Collins as part of Cairns Festival 2021


SMART social-distancing




Sydney Theatre Company reopened in 2020 with Wonnangatta. During COVID restrictions and lockdowns, leading arts and cultural institutions including STC and Melbourne Theatre Company called for patrons to convert any tickets they held into donations instead of asking for refunds, as the sector grappled with how to survive

Those working casually or part-time had their weekly wage fall by an average $50 with the authors calculating that there had been a 46% drop in employment in libraries, a 32% fall in the creative and performing arts, and 38% in motion picture and sound recording. With the pandemic exacerbating problems that were already endemic in these sectors, the report says that the Federal Government had not adequately responded to the scale and severity of the crisis, despite its $250 million relief package announced in June 2020, the JobKeeper wage subsidy, and a $285 million package in the 2021/22 budget. Here it advised “during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has implemented increasingly hostile policies in the arts and cultural sector, including weakening local production quotas and increasing the cost of studying creative fields, adding that while the relief packages were welcome, the “design and delivery ... fell far short of its glossy announcement” because of its slow rollout and patchy distribution. It also noted “it is not clear that the group of recipients funded through RISE (the Federal Cultural Relief Fund) corresponds to the areas of greatest need”, with little emergency funding reaching small and medium arts enterprises that generate most arts sector activity. Many venues and organisations, slammed by a loss of jobs and audiences over the year-and a half of lockdowns and restrictions, “will not be in a position to reboot”, the report said, predicting a “permanent drop in output” from those that survive, and an exodus of workers who opt not to return to this lowwage, insecure sector. Dream Big Children’s Festival 2021 - Magic Beach Credit James D Morgan. Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre and formerly known as Come Out Festival, DreamBIG is the longest-running children’s festival in the world.

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“Culture is an inescapable part of what it means to be human. We can no more imagine a life without the arts than we can imagine a life without language, custom, or ritual. Australia is home to the oldest continuing cultural traditions on the planet, and some of the world’s most renowned actors, musicians and artists. “But while we have a proud story to tell, the future of Australian culture looks increasingly uncertain.” Alison Pennington, co-author, ‘Creativity in Crisis: Rebooting Australia’s Arts & Entertainment Sector’

It also advised “ongoing instability from the failed vaccination rollout, combined with the absence of widespread, long-term government supports, prevent the arts sector from rebooting to anything resembling pre-pandemic conditions for the foreseeable future.” And this could result in wider economic damage, as the sector helps drive demand for hospitality, retail and tourism. Pennington stated “destructive market-first policies eroded the richness and diversity of arts and culture in Australia longbefore COVID-19 hit. Endless short-term grant cycles and philanthropic dependency is not a place the arts and culture sector should ‘snap back’ to. “Australia’s arts and cultural sector needs an ambitious public investment program to provide reliable funding for arts organisations from the grassroots-up, provide arts education to all children, and rebuild cultural labour markets to ensure that artists and cultural workers earn decent, living incomes.” Years of declining investment The report highlighted that over many years Federal Government funding for the arts and culture had lagged that of state governments, which in turn was below the level of support offered by local government, which now contributes more than half of all financial support to the sector. Among the report’s most dramatic figures were those that Federal Government spending on the cultural sector per capita had declined by 18.9%s since 2007, stating “these stark funding divergences reflect the ongoing failure of policy makers to create a more coherent and balanced arts and entertainment sector policy across all levels of government.”

Local Penrith artist, Brett Sams performing at Penrith Make Music Day 2021

Rita and Monica Watson at Ninuku Arts participating in Australia’s largest Indigenous visual art event hosted by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF). Credit Meg Hansen

The ’total reboot’ The report said “Australia needs a complete reboot of the arts and entertainment sector” with ambitious, sustained public investment to rebuild skills, jobs and incomes proposing a return to 1970s levels of support for the arts, with a big increase to the number of “creative fellowships”, a new focus on arts education to help raise a generation better able to appreciate and contribute and a “whole of Australia public streaming platform” to bring culture out of the institutions to the masses funded by a ‘digital platforms levy’ from the giant technology platforms. Explaining this, Eltham advised “old arguments about government spending have been turned on their head. For many artists, JobKeeper was the first time they had been able to draw a steady, liveable income from their craft. The massive cash injection shows that Australians can afford a better society and culture if we want.” The call for a new public streaming platform and the introduction of Australian content quotas on all streaming services runs counter to a recent Federal Government green paper on Australian content quotas, which would, for example, allow Foxtel to halve its local production budget while seeking to “harmonise” Australian content levels across all platforms at just 5%. Explaining the expansion of funding to community arts organisations and artists, Pennington noted “it helps to think of investment in the arts as an investment in the public good, something like the healthcare system. “You make major investments in hospitals for mass treatment. You invest in face-to-face community health. “But what we’ve found is that less funding for the whole arts and culture sector has coincided with funding that flows mostly Karen Benton’s 2021 installation at Sydney to the largest organisations. Artist Run Initiative, Over decades that has led to an Articulate Project Space erosion of access, participation and lack of skill-building.” Other recommendations include introducing a Commonwealth creative fellowships program and improving coordination of cultural policy between federal, state and local government. With the report aiming to articulate just how severe the crisis is at the moment and catalyse discussion, Pennington went on to say “it’s a call to arms.

“The only way to build a policy to reinstate the critical role of government in the arts is going to require not just the advocacy of the sector but of everyone. We all have to demand a better world on the other side of this pandemic.” Eltham concluded “one thing I hope the report can do is show the metrics of just how bad things are.” Key findings: •More people work in broad cultural industries (over 350,000) than many other areas of the economy that are receiving greater policy supports, including aviation (40,500) and coal mining (48,900). •Despite years of significant funding pressures and policy neglect, the arts and entertainment sector contributed $17 billion in GDP to the Australian economy in 2018-19. •By international standards, Australia ranks low in its funding support for the arts and culture. The OECD average for government expenditure on the cultural sector is 1.2% of annual GDP. Australia contributes just 0.9%. •Due to their disproportionately insecure labour market conditions, arts and entertainment sector workers are experiencing significant ruptures in their employment arrangements due to COVID-19. •The federal government has not adequately responded to the scale and severity of the crisis in the arts and entertainment sector. Worse still, it has implemented increasingly hostile policies, including weakening local production quotas and increasing the cost of studying creative fields. •Unpredictable health restrictions due to vaccination program failures mean the viability of the arts and cultural sector will likely be hampered for years to come. •Australia needs a public-led reboot of the arts and cultural sector that lays the groundwork for a sustainable, vibrant future for the arts and culture, built through ambitious public investment and planning across many sectors of our cultural economy. •While damage to the sector has been grave, the pandemic presents an opportunity to rebuild a better culture. The report presents clear policy measures to reinvest in our culture and deliver a richer, more vibrant, and more diverse cultural sector. These measures include implementing a new Commonwealth creative fellowships program, wholeof-Australia public streaming platform, strengthening the quality of jobs for artists and cultural sector workers, and more. Karen Sweaney is Editor of Australasian Leisure Management. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 47

Mt Buller. Credit: Jordan Mountain.

A Rough Run for Ski Regions From bush fires to a pandemic, Gwen Luscombe looks at how Australia’s most popular ski areas are expected to fare this winter season fter an incredibly lean 2020, the Australian ski sector is currently enduring another uncertain season as a result of A unpredictable state border closures and lockdowns. As Australian Ski Areas Association (ASAA) Chief Executive, Colin Hackworth explains “the COVID-19 pandemic has presented incredible challenges not just for the Australian ski industry but globally. “Unfortunately, the 2020 winter season was disastrous for Australia’s ski resorts, particularly those in Victoria. While the NSW resorts were able to operate with capacity constraints, the Victorian resorts suffered greatly during the lockdown of greater Melbourne. Mount Hotham and Falls Creek operated for only four days. Mount Buller managed to operate somewhat longer but only for regional Victorians. Alpine businesses are on their knees and unable to withstand another season like 2020.” In a typical (pre-pandemic) year, the Australian ski industry generates $2.4 billion in economic benefit, much of which is generated in regional areas, and employs roughly 23,000 people. In 2020, it’s estimated that 80-90% of that was lost. A 48 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

permanent blow which, as Hackworth points out, can’t be “made up”. ASAA’s members, made up of the ski lifting operators of Australia, has remained committed to supporting government and health advice to protect the community and staff and had been anticipating a busy 2021 season having developed and implemented comprehensive COVID-19 operating plans in compliance with government guidelines. However, the pandemic was just one of several blows to the industry recently, with bushfires and rising insurance costs, the industry has had a rough ride. Victoria’s ski industry in particular has seen enormous premium hikes after it was pummelled by bushfires and the pandemic, further threatening the upcoming season. In May this year, a report released by Victoria University and the Victoria Tourism Industry Council warned of too many barriers facing the tourism sector’s recovery in the alpine region, including impossible insurance costs. Surveys of 323 Victorian tourism operators showed businesses faced insurance hikes of up to 400% in bushfire-affected areas.

Laurie Blampied, General Manager at Buller Ski Lifts (pictured left), notes “every day in 2020 seemed to bring about a new change or challenge for us as a business and personally.” Buller Ski Lifts has held the ski area lease at Mt Buller since the early 1990s, moving approximately 40,000 skiers each hour across 300 hectares of terrain via a network of 20 lifts during peak operations in the snow season. Their operations also include a ski and snowboard school, numerous hospitality venues, hotels and accommodation, and retail stores employing roughly 650-700 people each season including instructors, snow makers, lift operators, chefs, hospitality staff, hotel staff, retail staff and office personnel. Blampied says that the blows to the industry have shown them that when things are at their hardest there are always opportunities to do things in a whole new way, commenting “the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were wide and deep to our business and the whole alpine economy in Victoria. “We are an industry that is familiar with risk and the variables of the weather and snow but to have our guests unable to visit, our resort unable to operate and a global health crisis unfolding, on the heels of a wickedly destructive fire season, it was devastating.” Mt Buller did what many businesses were forced to do and adapt to make the most of their situation. They put their focus on the green season when states were given a small reprieve on travel restrictions. Blampied adds “the resort normally welcomes a smaller visitor base to the mountains each ‘green’ season, however during 2020/21 we did see slightly more Victorians travelling intra-state than usual. We had people making bookings to come and walk, ride mountain bike trails and consciously try to support regional tourism while keeping close to home and within state boundaries. “Visitor patterns over the 2020/21 summer marked the start of a return to some normalcy.” NSW’s Thredbo region did the same. Home to Australia’s longest ski runs, and several mountain biking and hiking trails in the heart of the famous Kosciuszko National Park, they invested in internal improvements during the 2020 lockdown. Thredbo Marketing Manager, Caroline Brauer explained “we enhanced the online purchasing experience with significant improvements to the Online Shop, allowing a more streamlined online journey when pre-purchasing Thredbo lift passes, rental and lessons. “Improvements have also been made to the in-resort guest experience with the introduction of MyThredbo Card Kiosks placed in Thredbo Village and in Jindabyne to allow for 24/7, contactless collection of lift pass cards. After pre-purchasing lift, lesson and rental products online, guests can simply scan their barcode from a printed receipt or mobile phone to collect their cards.” However, with NSW entering a lockdown immediately before the state’s 2021 winter school holidays, visitation to the Snowy Mountains fell by 70% in a period that had been expected to be at 100% occupancy, with check-ins for the holiday weeks in Jindabyne, Thredbo and Perisher dropping to as low at 30%. At the time of writing and after enduring six lockdowns, Mt Buller and Mt Stirling are welcoming visitors with resumed lifting operations with 14 lifts expected to turn and a metre of excellent snow cover waiting for skiers and boarders. Advising that Mt Buller businesses are delighted to get their doors open and welcome visitors into the resort once more, Blampied noted “we feel for our friends in Melbourne doing the hard yards in lockdown but can reassure everyone our team will

Mt Kosciuszko Summit Hike - Green Season.

Thredbo Gondola.

Group of skiers at Mt Buller. Credit: Andrew Railton.

work hard to keep the ski area humming along safely and we hope to see all of Victoria back for a slide as soon as possible.” Speaking before the reopening, Blampied “we have a lot of ground to make up (and) our recovery will only really begin once we have people on the snow again. “Our stakeholders, staff, customers and the local government were incredibly understanding and supportive as we rode through the challenges together. The experience of 2020 has had some silver linings and in some cases, our partnerships are the stronger for it.” ASAA’s Hackworth says that while the industry has had a delayed recovery, it’s resilient and ready to send a big welcome back, concluding “we have all had no choice but to knuckle down and ride it out as best we can. Effectively losing an entire ski season in Victoria was something I never thought could happen.” Gwen Luscombe is Director of the Ideas Library and a frequent contributor to Australasian Leisure Management on tourism, business events, technology and hospitality. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 49

Sydney Cricket Ground (above) shown with a potential 1,004 KW PV array, SCG (insert) as it is now, and the Powering a Sporting Nation report.

Powering a Sporting Nation Research shows the potential for the rooftops of sporting venues to mitigate the impacts of climate change


ecently released research carried out by the University of New South Wales School’s Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) and the Australian PV Institute (APVI), on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), shows there is a lead role for AFL, cricket and football clubs, associations and national governing organisations to play in mitigating the impacts of climate change. The research shows that 20,000 megawatt hours of clean energy and impressive financial benefits could be generated simply by installing solar panels on the vacant roofing space of Australia’s major stadiums and administrative offices of major sporting codes. On the back of other ACF research showing temperature increases from climate change will worsen the conditions in which professional sports like cricket, Australian Open tennis and World Tour cycling races operate, this latest research offers positive solutions to one of the major issues facing Australian sport. The Powering a Sporting Nation report and related papers found that installing solar panels on stadium and facility roofing could: •Generate around 20,000 megawatt hours of energy - enough to power almost 2,900 households annually. •Prevent the release of 310,000 tonnes of carbon pollution over two decades. •Save cricket, football and AFL codes a combined total of $3.7 million per year.

50 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Going solar would also bring benefits for non-elite and community sport, with the assessment of regional and community clubs across the three sports suggesting there is extensive viable roof space on club facilities that is not yet being used to create clean solar power. Among best practice examples North Melbourne Football Club is a leader in clean power generation, with its Arden Street headquarters and adjoining North Melbourne Recreation Centre powered by solar as a result of an investment by the City of Melbourne, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Kangaroos. The 800 panel, 200kW system was the biggest in the City of Melbourne when installed in 2016 and has helped reduce the club’s reliance on grid-supplied power by 22%. This installation followed Richmond Football Club’s installation of a 100kW solar system during the redevelopment of its Punt Road Oval home in 2014 - and it more recently becoming the first AFL club to join the United Nation’s Sports for Climate Action Initiative. Similar sized systems have also been installed at St Kilda FC’s RSEA Park while the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) uses its system to power its water recycling facility with excess electricity then transferred to lighting and power in other areas of the venue. In terms of solar opportunities, the report suggests that the Sydney Cricket Ground has 1004 kilowatts of clean energy potential and the Darwin headquarters of Football NT has 406 kilowatts of clean solar potential.

Commenting on the findings, ACF Campaigns Director, Paul Sinclair stated “from the biggest stadium to the smallest clubrooms, Australian sports can work together to become powered by 100% clean energy. “To become pollution free in the next decade, Australians need to work together and get on with the job of making our country a clean energy superpower. “That includes making Australia’s stadiums and clubrooms renewable-powered and energy efficient. “The solutions to do this are available right here, right now. Moving to clean energy creates jobs, cuts energy costs and gives Australian rivers, forests and wildlife a chance to thrive.” Citing ‘The Climate Council’s Game, Set, Match: Calling Time on Climate Inaction’, featured earlier this year in Australasian Leisure Management issue 143, Sinclair added “sports in Australia face a growing threat from climate change. Driven mainly by burning fossil fuels like coal and gas, global warming is drying out sports grounds, disrupting events and increasing health risks for players. “The costs of missing the opportunities before us are huge. More catastrophic bushfires and weather events will destroy homes of people and wildlife. “Extreme and deadly heatwaves will threaten the lives of Australians, including sportspeople and fans at elite and community levels (but) we believe Australian sports can be

powered by 100% clean energy by 2030.” The work follows an earlier UNSW study from 2017 that suggested the installation of solar panels on major Brisbane venues including Suncorp Stadium and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre could generate electricity for 1,200 homes and save 5414 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission a year. At the time, SPREE’s Dr Anna Bruce explained how small to larger businesses were now examining cost savings from “localised” solar generating systems on their business rooftops. Dr Bruce explained “one of the benefits - longer term - will be that by generating more electricity locally, we will not need as much capacity in our transmission and distribution network, our electricity grid.” While stadium managers may often seem more concerned with operating ‘experience’ attractions on their roofs than solar installations, facilities in other sectors have led the way in commercial solar including Perth’s Cockburn ARC, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, Sydney Town Hall and numerous other aquatic and recreation facilities are making the most of rooftop solar installations. As Colin Mauger, founder and Director of aquatic and recreation facility solar energy company Supreme Heating, advises “the entire industry has a responsibility to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and harness the power of the sun.”

According to La Trobe, the venue has been awarded Australia’s first ‘6 Star Green Star Design and As Built v1.2 certified rating’ for a sports building by the Green Building Council Australia. Tweed Shire Council Tweed Shire Council has committed to a new two-year program of renewable energy and energy efficiency works across its facilities aiming to achieve net zero emissions from electricity usage by 2030. There are already solar arrays installed at more than 20 Council facilities, including Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre in Murwillumbah, saving 1185 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually - the equivalent of 66 average households. Metricon Stadium’s ‘solar halo’ The redevelopment of Metricon Stadium (Carrara Stadium) in 2011 saw the installation of what was then Australia’s largest Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) project with 600 custom made solar panels from Netherlands-based Scheuten Solar integrated into the roof of the structure. The appropriately named Gold Coast Suns have benefitted from this ‘solar halo’ with 200kW capacity.

Logan North Aquatic Centre The recent installation of a 100kW system on the roof of the Logan North Aquatic Centre in Underwood features 303 solar panels. This installation has contributed to Logan City Council having passed a significant renewable energy milestone with more than 1000kW of solar photovoltaic panels now installed on Council-owned buildings.

La Trobe Sports Stadium With a goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2029, La Trobe University in Melbourne has included 1,104 solar panels on the roof of its recently completed La Trobe Sports Stadium. The new stadium was completed earlier this year as part of Stage 2 of the University’s Sports Park development, with a 519kW solar array atop the venue capable of generating approximately 724,000kWh of solar energy annually, more than enough to meet the entire stadium’s electrical demands, with the surplus going to supplement the main campus.

The MCG Having signed on to the United Nations Sports for Climate Change Action framework in 2019, MCG operator the Melbourne Cricket Club last year installed new solar panels on parts of the northern roof. A review found the Great Southern Stand roof would not have been able to handle the added weight of the solar panels but EnergyAustralia discovered that certain sections of the northern stand would work, not only easing weight fears but ensuring there would be enough generation capacity to make the project feasible. The venue’s operations team can track energy usage in real time, meaning it will be able to check on what is being generated by the solar panels, thereby managing the load during peak times. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 51

Legal Lessons for Coaches The Federal Court has ruled that the Fitness Industry Award covers elite swimming coaches


he Full Bench of the Federal Court’s recent overruling of a previous judgment of Justice Michael Wheelahan which found that a former coach of elite swimmers at Melbourne’s Vicentre Swimming Club, Matthew King, was covered by the Fitness Industry Award 2010 presents some lessons for employers. This decision could have significant implications for employers throughout the aquatic and sport sectors. Background When ‘modern awards’ were introduced in Australia in 2009, they were intended to simplify the process of determining employment conditions. A new advisory note from Royal Life Saving Society Australia explains “for the aquatic industry, theoretically it should be simple - the Fitness Industry Award covers ‘aquatic centres’ and ‘aquatic services or classes’, so that’s all human resources managers need to know about, yes? “Unfortunately, no. Firstly, the Fitness Award specifically excludes some employees (like cleaners and security staff) who are covered by other awards, and second, it is also necessary to consider whether an employee at an aquatic centre comes within one of the classifications under the Fitness Award. “(At the end of July), three judges of the Federal Court of Australia considered the award coverage of a swim coach and provided some useful lessons for the aquatic industry.” 52 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Facts of the trial Matthew King was employed by Melbourne’s Vicentre Swimming Club as a swim coach. When his employment was terminated, he brought claims against the Club which depended, in part, upon an entitlement to award coverage. King argued that they were covered by the Fitness Award (or alternatively, argued that they were covered by the Sporting Organisations Award, or if not that, the Miscellaneous Award, which demonstrates that multiple awards will often overlap). At the first trial, Justice Wheelahan rejected all of King’s award-based claims, rejecting his claims that they were covered by level 4A, or level 5, of the Fitness Award because he did not hold a ‘Fitness Industry AQF Certificate Level IV’ qualification (which the judge noted has historically not been associated with swim coaches). Justice Wheelahan also rejected the coach’s claim to be covered by level 4 of the Award, because that level requires the holding of a bronze licence for coaching, and the coach held a silver licence. Accordingly, Justice Wheelahan found that the coach was too qualified to be level 4, but not qualified enough to be level 4A or 5, and thus found that the coach was outside the scope of the Fitness Award altogether. The Appeal On appeal to the Federal Court, King argued that the Award Classification definitions for a Level 4 employee applied to his role as he was working under limited supervision and guidance

“Not only is written notice of classification a legal requirement, but if the parties agree on the correct classification at the outset of the employment relationship, the likelihood of a later dispute will be significantly reduced.” The second lesson is that award interpretation is not a simple matter, as demonstrated by the fact that the three appeal judges reached a different conclusion to that reached by the first judge. When the Fitness Award was made in 2009, the then Australian Industrial Relations Commission rejected a proposal to make a standalone award for swim schools. The reduction in the number of modern awards was meant to simplify the position for employers, but that meant compressing a number of industry-specific awards (with industry-specific classification structures) into the general ‘fitness industry’. Aquatic industry employers will need to consider carefully how that compression affects the specific work that the employees do when determining award classifications. With thanks to FCB Workplace Law and StevensVuaran Lawyers.

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and was required to exercise initiative and judgment in the performance of his duties. Moreover, King highlighted that the classification definitions are indicative of the minimum qualifications required for an employee to be classified at Level 4. The Decision The Full Court agreed that King’s qualifications and experience well exceeded the minimum requirements for an employee to be classified at Level 4 under the Award. However, the Full Court found that the classification descriptors are the minimum only and that as there is not a higher level in the Award that covers swimming coaches, (unless the coach’s primary duties also involved supervising, training and coordinating other employees) King should have been classified as a Level 4 employee under the Award. The Full Court also rejected the Club’s argument that the reference in level 4 to a person who is a coach of ‘beginner swimmers’ meant that the coach lost the protection of the Fitness Award because he coached intermediate squads. The appeal judges noted the evidence that most of the swimmers at the Club were not beginner swimmers, and said that “if the intention behind the Award had been to exclude coaches who coach most of the swimmers at a club, one would expect it to have said so clearly.” For King, this ruling has meant that he will be able to pursue his underpayment claim against his former employer for entitlements under the Award. His essential claim is that the loaded rate of pay he received between 2012 and 2018 was insufficient to cover the Award derived payment obligations. Lessons for Employers Clause 8 of the Fitness Award requires that an employer “must advise an employee in writing of their classification on commencement of employment, and on any subsequent changes to their classification.” This was not done for the coach in this case, and Royal Life Saving suggest “it is the most important lesson of the case.

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Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena has been used as a mass vaccination centre for HSC students.

Passports to Recovery Nigel Benton explains how vaccines have to play a key role in industry recovery


iven the impact of COVID-19 over the past 16 months on all areas of the leisure industry, the move towards industry recovery is surely happening too slowly. Ongoing outbreaks and the all-to-frequent reimposition of lockdowns (particularly in Victoria) and the fears of new lockdowns and restrictions on activity make it very different for consumers and most sectors to plan. In terms of public health, Australia and New Zealand are widely acknowledged to have handled last year’s outbreaks of the Coronavirus pandemic well. Helped by geographical isolations and the geography of being large islands, overall deaths (and deaths per million) were among the lowest in the world. By contrast, both country’s vaccination programs (and particularly Australia’s) has been slow to roll out and inconsistent, leaving the nation behind other leading economies in approaching a full vaccinated population. Assuming vaccinations are effective against all COVID strains, it is the bulk of the population being vaccinated that will drive a full reopening of the economy and consumer confidence to return to their pre-Coronavirus patterns of behaviour. As Sally McManus, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, explained in June, the nation’s health and economic recovery won’t be secured while the vaccine rollout stalls. Speaking over concerns about the speed of the vaccines rollout and the effectiveness of the Federal Government’s communication campaign, McManus stated “we will never be in a position where we can have certainty about the future ... until we speed up this vaccines rollout. “At the moment it’s extremely slow and it’s one of the main things that will hold us back in terms of jobs and in terms of recovery.” 54 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Getting the Information Out As of 7th June, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) introduced arrangements to facilitate the communication of information about approved COVID-19 vaccines which permit health professionals, businesses and media outlets to develop their own materials about TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. They also permit the offer of a range of rewards to people who have been fully vaccinated under the Government’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Surely being proactive in this, is a key role for leading employers and industry bodies? Commenting on this, Wayne Middleton, a leading risk management consultant and Managing Director of Reliance Risk, explained “the TGA’s announcement provides more clarity for Australian businesses in communicating and potentially incentivising their staff to get vaccinated. “As has become increasingly apparent following Melbourne’s most recent outbreak and lockdown, that the whole country is still potentially vulnerable to outbreaks. Mass gatherings will always be one of the most affected industries until a high percentage of the entire population is vaccinated. “Expert advice suggests that we have a way to go before global infection rates are under control, and as the virus continues to mutate, and in some cases become more transmissible amongst some populations we thought were previously unaffected, such as children; large scale vaccination appears the only pathway to realistically navigate out of this. “Vaccination Policy is complicated in that it raises many legal, moral and social issues. The TGA’s announcement, however, helps businesses to promote its importance to its people and share the public information messaging.”

Vaccine Passports The European Union has already signed into law digital COVID-19 passports, the first of their kind, allowing the 27 nation members to open their borders for travel during the peak holiday months of the Northern Hemisphere summer. The certificates will allow citizens to prove their vaccination status, if they’ve previously been infected with the virus or had a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test 72 hours before travelling. The World Travel and Tourism Council welcomed this, saying initiatives of this type could unlock the door to international travel. WTTC Senior Vice President, Virginia Messina advised that the “WTTC welcomes the agreement reached on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which has now been given the green light by all member states. “This new certificate could be the key to unlocking international travel and save thousands of businesses and millions of jobs across Europe and beyond.” Dr Taleb Rifai, Chairman of the International Tourism and Investment Conference (ITIC) and former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), has gone further, saying international travel will not return to any semblance of normality until the whole world is vaccinated against Covid-19. Speaking at the 2021 Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Dr Rifai stated “countries can’t keep doing their own thing on their own. It’s not going to work. “It will take the world five years for 70% of the population to be vaccinated. No travel is going to start until the whole world is vaccinated. You cannot have Europe vaccinated and Africa not vaccinated. “It’s a matter of how equal we are. The new world is going to be much more equitable, a much more sustainable world for sure.” Back in March, Qantas Chief Executive, Alan Joyce suggested that governments around the world will insist on Coronavirus vaccines for travellers when international borders reopen. In an interview with the BBC, Joyce advised that “governments are going to insist” on vaccines for international travellers as “a condition of entry”. And with Coronavirus vaccines seen as crucial to reviving an industry that saw worldwide passenger numbers fall 75.6% last year, Joyce suggested that if governments don’t demand vaccinations, airlines should enforce its own policy. Vaccination for entertainment and sport Beyond this, vaccines may also apply to domestic and nonflying related activities. While the turn of the year saw theatre productions in Sydney and Brisbane lead the world in (now reversed) venue reopenings and COVIDSafe patron access, the same has not applied to live music. When Bruce Springsteen laid down strict rules that attendees of his Springsteen on Broadway show in New York would have to prove they have received COVID-19 vaccinations it made headlines around the world. However, now it appears Australians could be banned from concerts, festivals, performing arts and sporting venues unless they get vaccinated under a ‘no jab, no entry policy’ being suggested by promoters and venue owners. Promoters Live Nation, Chugg Entertainment and Andrew Macmanus, along with Melbourne theatre operator Marriner Group, are reported to be backing the introduction of ‘vaccine passports’ that could be trialled as soon as enough of the population are inoculated to make it viable. Those backing vaccine passports argue they “are essential for the survival of the music and arts industry”. Advising that ‘no jab, no entry’ policies have been “very

Veteran rock band Kiss are set to tour in the last quarter of the year.

effective” overseas, Live Nation Asia-Pacific President, Roger Field commented “we need to work with government and start trialling these and other initiatives here in order for the industry to get back on its feet.” Veteran promoter Michael Chugg also believes vaccination is the only way out of the pandemic for an industry trying to stay afloat as tours face weekly cancellations or rescheduling, adding “vaccine passports need to happen. “Unless everyone comes together on this, we’re just going to keep dealing with this crap.” In January, when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed that four million doses of the Coronavirus vaccine would be administered by 31st March - a target which it has fallen well short of - live music operators began to plan for activity from the second quarter of the year. Such planning was massively impacted when Bluesfest was shut down - with just one day’s notice - prior to the Easter weekend, sending a warning to every single live music event in Australia that it would be at risk of sudden shut down if Coronavirus cases in areas were deemed a risk. While Bluesfest has been rescheduled, then effectively cancelled for the year, massive pressure applies when planned international tours are considered. With major international acts seen as key to filling Australia’s larger venues, TEG Chief Executive Geoff Jones (pictured below) has backed the return of major tours in the final quarter of 2021, already selling around hundreds of thousands of tickets for Guns N’ Roses, Kiss and Keith Urban across 20 or so performances in Australia and New Zealand in the final quarter of 2021. Speaking in May, he advised that “my worst nightmare is that something happens and we can’t do all the dates.” TEG, as Jones explained, had been “trying extraordinarily hard” to work with all states to ensure the concerts go ahead, Jones explained that for each of the tours they would be bringing smaller touring parties, all involved would be vaccinated, they would arrive and travel across Australia by private jet and that they would be subject to a regime of testing with all involved being tested every second day. When looking back at when the tours were first planned at the end of last year, he recalled “we thought there’d be a sense of normality by then”, adding that he expects a huge spike in Australians getting vaccinated as the year progresses, adding “with that will come confidence in public health officials having more leniency over people coming in from overseas who have been vaccinated as well.” However, at the time of writing, it appears these tours many well be postponed to next year, although this has yet to be confirmed. Nigel Benton is Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 55

Fitness business owner Mel Tempest

Challenges and

Opportunities Health club owner and business leader Mel Tempest assesses the contradiction of overseas interest in Australian fitness at a time of unprecedented stress


oronavirus lockdowns over the past 16 months have created unprecedented suffering for the operators of fitness businesses with untold amounts of revenue gone, some operators closing their doors for good and the mental health and physical health of our members wiped out. Of all states, Victoria has, until now, been most impacted - enduring six lockdowns that have resulted in an almost broken industry, with business owners living day to day, with no cashflow, borrowing money where they can, with overdrafts and credit cards maxed out. Increasingly, there is not a day that passes where I don’t receive a call from a distressed business owner explaining their plight. After the fourth lockdown was introduced, Tim Schleiger, spokesperson for VIC Active - the industry lobby group formed 56 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

to back fitness operators during the COVID-19 crisis - called the ongoing lockdowns “a monumental kick in the guts to all Victorians.” VIC Active has taken a proactive role in meeting with Government, highlighting that fitness centres are COVID-19 Safe and must reopen if Victoria is to avoid a physical and mental health catastrophe and lobbying for the industry to not be the first to be closed and last to be reopened during lockdowns. Despite academically and scientifically collected evidence showing that fitness centres are COVID-19 Safe, the sector has been consistently overlooked, so much so that, during easing measures in early June, brothels were allowed to reopen under similar conditions to those that apply for gyms, aquatic facilities and entertainment venues! With harsh lockdown measures being applied to Melbourne often also extending to regional Victoria, even when there are no active cases outside the Victorian capital, I believe operators in regional Victoria need stronger representation to try and secure a rescue package for the industry from the Federal and Victorian Governments. The Federal/State Government needs to come to the industry’s rescue with a national relief package. Without it, the industry will shut down and this will cost us all in the long run as without new financial support clubs will close, mental health problems and suicide will increase, chronic illness will grow, and our health care system will crumble under the already existing strain. The fitness industry is more than a selfie on Instagram and the days of steel plates dropping in clubs are gone. We need to eliminate this poor image and promote what and who we are, ‘a lifeline for many’ and we need new representation and the fitness professionals of today to stand up to represent the next generations, so they have an industry to go to. Associations have done what they can, but it’s not enough to get us across the line. I have repeatedly engaged with Victorian politicians and have gained the support of opposition state members Louise Staley and David Hodgett who have thrown their support behind the fitness industry. But wait … Remarkably, despite the lockdowns and restrictions that the industry is facing, not only in Victoria but also across the rest of the country, that hasn’t stopped the high interest of foreign brands making their way to these shores.

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FitXponential Fitness’ Club Pilates chain, the world’s largest Pilates brand, has entered the Australian market (above and opposite).

With much of the fitness market in the USA operating at a near normal level, as evidenced by Jason Abucejo, Head of Major Accounts at MXMetrics (MXM), the fitness/wellness operational customer experience management platform is among many overseas businesses with Australia in its sights. MXM’s business model turns members’ thoughts and feelings into real data and insights - driving economic growth and resiliency to competitors - to make every member visit exceptional by supporting member retention and club loyalty at gyms. US-based Xponential Fitness, the owner of multiple exercise brands including Club Pilates, CycleBar and Pure Barre, and which is currently looking to list on the New York Stock Exchange, also has an interest in Australia. In May it announced that leading assisted stretching franchise, StretchLab, has signed a master franchise agreement for

Australia, which gives the master franchisee the right to license at least 50 StretchLab studios to potential franchisees in the country over the next several years. The Australia agreement is a collaboration between StretchLab and Stretch X Operations Pty Ltd., a privately owned company started by Perth-based entrepreneurs Matt, Bill, and Candice Gordin. The family team have extensive experience with Xponential Fitness, having signed a Master Franchise Agreement with respect to CycleBar, another Xponential Fitness brand, last year and opening the first of up to 45 studios to follow. StretchLab’s arrival in Australia follows a similar agreement, announced earlier this year, for its Club Pilates chain, the world’s largest Pilates brand, to enter the local market. The Club Pilates deal is in collaboration with two Queenslandbased husband-wife duos, Brendan and Jessica James, along with Lawrence and Sandy Boyle. The master franchise agreement gives the master franchisee the right to license at least 50 studios to potential franchisees in the country over the next decade. Other popular USA franchise brands such as Regymen, New York Rumble boxing and The Covery Wellness, along with gym designers David Barton and Cuoco Black are also looking to shake up the Australian fitness business landscape. And even though international travel is at a standstill business virtual meetings are held daily with some of the biggest names and brands seeking a piece of Australian real estate. From Asia, I personally saw that

Fitness business owner Mel Tempest.

58 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

with the right management, marketing and skill the Fire Fitness brand has a place in Australia, as its business model is attractive for a start-up sole operator who can launch with one modality - or for the more experienced business owner who can launch with three. Fire encompasses your cardio HIIT, cycle, boxing and wellbeing formulas. With studio fitness locations ideal for sole operators and COVID-19 highlighting the need for support, better digital and marketing opportunities and business systems, many are now moving across to recognised and newly established foreign brands. In addition, new suppliers in the market who are set to exhibit at the highly anticipated FITNESS + WELLNESS AUSTRALIA trade show - now scheduled for March next year - include Terra Core, Terra Glide and the COBA Board. With 2020 having witnessed a soar in virtual programming, all three products allow for take home equipment purchase and online classes as well as in club timetabled classes. With group programming during lockdown periods keeping a vast majority of clubs and trainers heads above water, more clubs are now seeking hybrid solutions that enhance at home and in-house experiences, the COBA Board delivers all. Those seeking out the Australia fitness culture also include newly formed business consulting agency and event holders, Active Entities launched in the USA through the COVID crisis who saw a gap in the industry as club doors closed with no industry support available. And while traditionally the Australian fitness industry has looked at the US market for upcoming brands and trends, let’s not forget some new innovative home brands that are launching well into the marketplace, new young franchise group such as Fitstop are now working with Lift Brands. Sydney brand Infinite Cycle franchise has opened new studios in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra while the Belgravia Group is set to launch new wellness studios and a Reformer Pilates studio business in competition with the new FS8 wellness brand owned by F45. There is no doubt that Australia is the location for those wanting to expand their business on an international scale and there is no shortage of buyers for new innovative brands. Consumers want different and these brands will deliver. Mel Tempest is the owner of the Ballarat Body & Soul Genesis 24/7 gym and an acknowledged industry leader and speaker. In 2017 she was the first Australian recipient of a scholarship from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) to attend the IHRSA Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.


Dean Boxall named Australian Age and Youth Coach of the Year at ASCTA Awards Celebrated St Peters Western, Queensland Head Coach Dean Boxall ‘virtually scooped the pool’ at the recent Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) Awards. Boxall, who continued his long list of award achievements after being named the back-to-back Age Coach of the Year and Youth Coach of the Year following the 2021 Australian Age Group Championships on the Gold Coast in April. The Awards, presented at ASCTA’s Virtual Awards Night in its 50th Anniversary Year, saw Boxall - the 2019 Australian Coach of the Year - recognise his coaching staff of Maxine Seear, Richard Sleight and Stuart Melton. As coach of swimmer Ariarne Titmus, Boxall’s reaction to her winning gold in the 400m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was widely commented on. ASCTA also bestowed its highest honour of Life Membership to pioneering Victorian coach Peter Ruddock and its former Chief Executive, the late Michael Ursu.

Advertising executive appointed new Chair for the Australia Council Robert Morgan, Executive Chairman of advertising agency the Clemenger Group, and former Sydney Swans and Opera Australia Director. has been appointed as the new Chair of the Australia Council for a three-year term. Morgan takes over from outgoing chair Sam Walsh who has spent five years leading the organisation.

New Supreme Heating appointments look to drive business growth Supreme Heating, specialists in the design and installation of innovative, energy efficient pool heating solutions, have announced the appointments of Anthony Denahy, Bianca Horewood and Shannon Wong in roles to drive the expansion of the business. Horewood joins the company as Marketing Coordinator, Denahy joins as Business Development Manager - Victoria and Wong has been hired as Business Development Manager Western Australia.

Ross Dowling named Emeritus Professor of Tourism at Edith Cowan University Tourism educator Ross Dowling (pictured at right) has been named Emeritus Professor of Tourism at Edith Cowan University. The award, has been given in recognition of distinguished academic contribution and leadership in tourism for more than two decades, as well as his contributions to geotourism, ecotourism and cruise ship tourism in Australia and internationally. Dowling is the Foundation Professor of Tourism in ECU’s School of Business and Law. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 59


Former AFL club executive named new Chief Executive at Netball Australia Netball Australia has named Kelly Ryan as its new Chief Executive, replacing Marne Fechner, who stepped down late last year to join AusCycling. Ryan joins Netball Australia after holding positions with Gold Coast and Western Bulldogs AFL clubs and most recently at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium.

Steve Hocking moves from AFL House to become Geelong Cats Chief Executive The AFL’s Executive General Manager of Football, Steve Hocking, has left the governing body to become Chief Executive at the Geelong Football Club. Hocking, who first joined the AFL in 2017 following his previous experience as the Cats’ Head of Football, will replace Brian Cook - currently the longest-serving Chief Executive in the AFL, having spent 22 years in the role.

Basketball Australia names Melbourne media manager as new chief executive Basketball Australia has appointed Matt Scriven, most recently the Managing Director of Nine Melbourne, as its new Chief Executive. In addition to his extensive corporate experience, Scriven has a lifelong connection to basketball and is deeply passionate about the sport, having first-hand experience across every level of the game, from grassroots through to high performance. He played State Representative at the National Junior Championships and SEABL Basketball for 10 years and was most recently a Board Director with both the Southeast Melbourne Phoenix and Basketball Hawthorn. He also worked in marketing and sponsorship for the NBL in the late 1990s.

Otium Planning’s Mike King moves to Senior Associate role in change of Directors Otium Planning Group has advised that, after nearly six years in the role, Mike King decided to resign as a Director of consultancy as of the end of June 2021. King will move into a role as Senior Associate at Otium Planning Group (OPG) allowing him to bring his expertise and project experience to a range of ongoing projects. With King stepping down as a Director, Dave Lanfear Consulting and OPG have decided to build on their strategic partnership and formally merge companies and join forces. As a result, Dave Lanfear is now a Director of OPG. 60 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

Changes at Vivaticket see John Godwin move to focus on charity ventures Leading global attractions and arts ticketing and access control business Vivaticket has announced that John Godwin, the longstanding Managing Director of its Australian operations, has stepped down from the business to embark full time on focusing his efforts towards charity ventures. Godwin, who founded ticketing and CRM solutions provider enta Australasia in 2007 - which became part of Vivaticket predecessor Best Union Company SpA in 2018 - has founded two charity ventures - the Fair Go Australia Foundation and Creating Positive Future Foundation - which he describes as being “very close to my heart - because they do make such a wonderful and positive impact on the lives of the people we support.” Following Godwin’s departure, Company Director, Andrew Steel, will now lead the business while Oliver Smith has joined the business in the role of Business Development Manager.

Monarto Safari Park Director receives UNESCO conservation award Peter Clark, Director of Monarto Safari Park has had his conservation career spanning nearly 50 years recognised with a UNESCO Achievement Award. Clark, who began working as an agricultural advisor for the Papua New Guinea and Australian Governments in 1973, joined Zoos SA in 2003 when he became Curator of what was formerly Monarto Zoo. Clark worked his way up to his 2018 appointment as Director of Monarto Safari Park, soon to be home to the largest safari experience outside of Africa.


David Aitchison has been promoted to the role of General Manager - Club Operations Australia (Fitness First and Goodlife) at the Fitness and Lifestyle Group. Shooting Australia has appointed former Australian Netball representative, Jane Altschwager as their Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Lead. Having led Paralympics Australia for the past six years, Chief Executive Lynne Anderson is to depart her role at the end of this year. Five new members have been appointed to the Sport and Recreation New Zealand (Sport NZ) Board with Suri Bartlett, Robyn Cockburn, Duane Kale, Rakesh Naidoo and Karen Vercoe each appointed for three-year terms. Ken Barton has been appointed Facility Operations Manager at Melbourne University Sport. Todd Bowden has taken on the role of Managing Director at consultancy SportsPM. Rebecca Brown has returned as Western Australia’s Department of Jobs, Science, Tourism and Innovation (JTSI) Director General and Tourism WA Chief Executive. Health and fitness business sales specialist, Business & Franchise Brokers (BF Brokers), have appointed Shane Byrne as their Business Broker for NSW. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association has appointed Elizabeth Clark as their next president and Chief Executive. Tennis Australia has advised of the appointment of experienced executive Cedric Cornelis as its new Chief Commercial Officer. Adelaide United FC Director of Football, Bruce Djite has taken on an additional position as a Board Member of the Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission within the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet.


IN BRIEF John Glenn is the new Chief Operating Officer at GWB Entertainment Pty Ltd. The Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) has announced that, after three decades with the business, the NSW/ACT General Manager, David Hatch has left the training organisation, to be succeeded by former AIF Graduate Simon McDonald. Tony Henderson has taken on the role of Chief Executive at Dragon Boats NSW. Darren Hewitt is the new Franchise Development Manager at 12RND Fitness. Cricket Australia has announced the appointment of Nick Hockley as its Chief Executive on a permanent basis. Husain Al-Musallam of Kuwait has been elected to replace Julio Maglione as President of aquatic sports’ world governing body FINA. Harry Konstantinou has taken on a new role as Director at Chain Collective Group Pty Ltd. Recreation Aotearoa Chief Executive, Andrew Leslie’s commitment to innovation has been recognised by being awarded the prestigious C.K Doig Leadership Award at the New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards. INTIX has welcomed Glen McGoldrick as its Board Chair and two new staff members - Bridget Kovacevic and Emma Williams to the Melbourne team. The Y Victoria has welcomed a new Chair of the Board, Dr Lindsay McMillan. Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck has announced the appointment of businessman and administrator Grant O’Brien as the new Chairperson for the Australian Sports Foundation. Tourism Tropical North Queensland has appointed Experience Co Chief Executive, John O’Sullivan to their Board of Directors. Power Plate has announced the appointment of Perth-based John Polley - the 2019 Exercise Association of NZ Educator of the Year - as its brand Ambassador. Following her success as Hamilton City Council’s Central City Place Manager, Lucy Ryan had been named as the new Director of the internationally acclaimed Hamilton Gardens - stepping into the role following the retirement of Dr Peter Sergel last year. Netball Queensland has announced the appointment of Grace Sarra into the newly created role of Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Advisor. The Wellington Regional Stadium Trust, operators of the New Zealand capital’s Sky Stadium, has announced the appointment of Rachel Taulelei as Chair. Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has appointed Allan Wainwright to the new role of Wanaka Area Recreation Manager. Stadiums Queensland, which manages Queensland’s $1.2 billion stadia portfolio, has appointed three new board members - John Warn, Peter Hyland and Sharon Finnan-White.

Technogym updates digital resources to aid restart of fitness clubs Looking to back fitness clubs around the world in encouraging members returning to their facilities, Technogym has released the latest edition of its digital ecosystem - the Mywellness 6.0 and Technogym App - to support fitness operators and educate end-users. For over 20 years, Technogym has been developing its digital ecosystem of software, content, smart equipment and services, and with the launch of Mywellness 6.0 and Technogym App it aims to tap into consumers and members’ rising levels of digital awareness, gained through the Coronavirus pandemic and gym closure/restrictions over the past 15 months. Explaining the technology, a Technogym spokesperson advises “the development of digital fitness represents a great opportunity for fitness clubs in the post-Covid era. Many people who were unable to go to the gym during the lockdown, trained at home, kept being active and are now ready and eager to return to the gym. “Moreover, those who first approached exercise digitally, during the pandemic now have the opportunity to fully enjoy their training experience, as only a professional fitness club can allow. On the other hand, those who stopped training during the lockdown are now more resistant to return to the gym. “The future fitness business model will be hybrid: people will work out at home and at the gym, in the same way that they go to a restaurant and use a home delivery service. In this new scenario, digital will allow clubs to ride the wave of change as an opportunity.” Technogym as the official and exclusive supplier of fitness equipment and digital technologies for the athletes’ training and preparation during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has equipped 25 training centres with over 1500 pieces of equipment. Contact 1800 615 440, E:,

Swimming Australia has appointed Paralympic gold medallist, Annabelle Williams to its Board of Directors - replacing outgoing Director Greg Hartung. Blaise Witnish has taken on a new role as Chief Growth & Innovation Officer at Funlab Pty Ltd. Hong Kong theme park Ocean Park has appointed Ivan Wong Chi-fai, a former Managing Director of the now defunct UA cinema chain, as its new Chief Executive. Sport and entertainment agency Gemba has appointed experienced strategy, technology and data executive Mark Zucco as its new Divisional Manager - Data and Analytics.

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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 61


Advanced Locker committed to building its lockers and terminals in Australia

Created to supply lockers for all sectors of the leisure industry, along with parcel lockers for apartments and offices and refrigerated lockers for supermarkets, Advanced Locker is committed to build its lockers and terminals in Australia. Established by owners Dean Burrows and Chris Kenny, the business’ origins go back to a project Burrows undertook in 2012 while studying at Swinburne University of Technology. Looking to deliver an Australian-made locker product that was resilient, functional and visually appealing, the locker now includes LED lights and stainless steel/non-corrosive material construction because, as Burrows explains “electro rust prevention systems don’t stop rust as claimed by many in the locker industry.” In addition, the lockers’ internal contents sensing cameras prevent users locking themselves out of a locker if anything as small as a credit card is left behind while its electronic solution is fully waterproof allowing outdoor placement with an asset life of 15 years. Another step for the company was finding a manufacturing partner, with the company joining forces with Assemco - with a shared office and warehouse area - enabling the company to undertake every step of the manufacturing process under the one roof. Burrows advises “the results are awesome and the finished product is the latest in technology all built in Australia.” Contact 0412 306 662 , E:,

Fitness and Lifestyle Group sign with Airlock Digital to protect against cyber attacks Australian cybersecurity pioneer Airlock Digital has announced that the Fitness and Lifestyle Group are among consumer enterprises adopting the Airlock ‘allowlisting’ solution as a key part of the Essential Eight cyber mitigation strategies to protect against ransomware and other cyber attacks. Airlock implements Application Control - the first of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Essential Eight strategies to mitigate cyber security incidents - to prevent execution of unapproved and/or malicious programs like ransomware. The Essential Eight has become the de facto Australian cyber security standard to protect against increasing ransomware and other cyber attacks. Many other cyber security frameworks, including the U.S. Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), also recommend Application Control. Having over 500 gym locations across Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia, Fitness and Lifestyle Group Head of Information Security, Lee Roebig advises “the protection of our staff and our members’ data is a priority for our business. “The ACSC Essential Eight is extremely important to FLG, as it should be for any other global business. While we use multiple endpoint security controls, it is safe to say that Airlock is our most effective solution for protecting endpoints from malicious software-based attacks.” Contact 1300 798 925, E:, 62 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

California Sports Surfaces introduces Rebound Ace CoolTop California Sports Surfaces has launched its new Rebound Ace Sports CoolTop acrylic sport surfacing material which features technology to lower the surface temperature on sports courts, or coated areas, utilising new generation Arctic Pigments coating materials. Mindful of Australia’s climate creating demands for shade, cool environments and bio environmentally friendly products, the Rebound Ace CoolTop is a solution for past complaints that acrylic courts are “always too hot”. The release is the culmination of many hours of research and laboratory work and testing having been carried out on some comparison tennis courts located on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast over the past year. Explaining the innovation, Managing Director - Australia for ICP/California Sports advised “our new Topcoats, Rebound Ace Sports CoolTop, have been monitored and measured each month over a range of daily temperatures and conditions. Results thus far, averaged out, result in up to 15% reduction in court surface temperature.” Contact 1800 786 617, E:,

Navigation software company PAM partners with leading venues Innovative Australian navigation software company PAM is helping venues and precincts welcome visitors back safely and improve the customer’s experience. As a cloud-based navigation platform, PAM is designed to remove barriers, bottlenecks and discomfort so that visitors and fans can navigate the ‘new normal’ and get the most out of their experience of venues and precincts. With venues grappling with how to get large crowds back safely, PAM founder and Chief Executive, Stephen Minning explains “many products and systems do parts of what PAM does, but PAM is the first complete CX navigation system. “By taking people exactly where they want to be, from anywhere in the city, PAM’s navigation software helps put people and places in sync. PAM’s wayfinding technology also creates powerful customer experiences, seamlessly connecting visitors with events and brands in real-time.” Venues use PAM to improve customer experiences and increase customer engagement with brands, events and amenities. This engagement results in increased revenue, while higher customer satisfaction ratings drive repeat attendance. In the wake of Covid lockdowns, venues are using PAM to reopen safely by preventing overcrowding and managing social distancing alerts. Contact 1800 626 364,

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Hydrilla achieves outstanding results at the South Australian SPASA Awards of Excellence

ProSlide innovates with world’s first family rafting MammothBLAST water coaster

Commercial pool and aquatics construction firm, Hydrilla achieved outstanding results at the 2021 South Australian Swimming Pool and Spa (SPASA) Awards of Excellence being acclaimed with five Gold Awards and two Highly Commended recognitions. The wins cap off an outstanding few years of growth for the Adelaide-based company who have reinvigorated their management team and, as of September last year, undergone a comprehensive rebrand. Thrilled with the company’s achievements being recognised by their peers and the wider aquatics industry, Hydrilla General Manager, Himal Kandel stated “the SPASA awards are a great way to demonstrate our technical capabilities and showcase the incredible pools we build. Our staff, clients and project partners are thrilled with our results for 2021. “We build long-term connections with our clients and it’s always such a pleasure to let them know the pool they love has received an industry award.” Contact: 08 8169 9500, E:,

ProSlide Technology Inc., one of the world’s leading water ride design, technology, and manufacturing businesses, has broken new ground as part of the expansion of Atlantis Aquaventure in Dubai with its latest innovation, the MammothBLAST™ water coaster. ProSlide’s MammothBLAST™ water coaster combines the face-to-face rafting experience of the company’s original MAMMOTH® water ride with the water coaster’s speed, powered by patented water propulsion from their highperformance BLAST water jets. For a truly high-performance experience, this necessitated the creation of a brand-new piece of technology built specifically for the MammothBLAST - the five-person low centre of gravity raft. The new design delivers 25% more throughput than was previously possible and allows for a wider range of rider configurations - meaning the vehicle can seat anywhere from two to five riders - and includes cushioned seats and a lower centre of gravity for a more comfortable experience. Contact: +1 613 526 5522, E:,

Adelaide Festival Centre transitions ticketing service from BASS to Ticketek The Adelaide Festival Centre has announced that its current ticketing service BASS will transition to ticketing provider Ticketek, advising that technological advancements in ticketing and the impact of COVID have prompted the partnership. With existing BASS outlets to transition to Ticketek over the next three months, the announcement signals the end of BASS in South Australia after over 40 years of processing ticket sales for the state’s major arts institutions, including the Festival Theatre, Dunstan Playhouse, Space Theatre and Her Majesty’s Theatre. Adelaide Festival Centre Dunstan Playhouse Current permanent and temporary staff at BASS will be offered employment at Ticketek’s Adelaide office and casuals will be offered employment with Ticketek’s casual staffing pool. TEG Chief Executive, Geoff Jones advised that Ticketek was thrilled to partner with Adelaide Festival Centre and added “we are looking forward to bringing Ticketek’s world-leading ticketing technology to Adelaide Festival Centre’s venues and their faithful patrons. We put fans and innovation at the heart of everything we do. “As such we will bring exciting innovations to the centre, making it easier than ever to access great shows.” Contact 02 9266 4102,

Jonas Software expands with new acquisitions Jonas Software and its parent company Constellation Software Inc. have announced a series of acquisitions that will expand its business in new sectors. Undertaking a number of acquisitions since March, the first of which saw Jonas Software acquire UniOne, a provider of customised software to universities whereby they manage student activity. With the UniOne product complementing Jonas’ offerings and drive greater value to universities and student organisations throughout Australia, Jonas Software Australia Chief Executive, Jeff McKee stated “UniOne is aligned well with our existing leisure/sports Associations vertical.” Jonas Software have also announced its acquisition of Dynamiq Ptd Ltd, a business that supplies expert support and advice in crisis and emergency management, business continuity planning, strategic security and emergency response planning. Jonas Software operates over 100 independently managed software brands around the world, providing them with the strategic guidance and financial security required to be leaders in their respective markets. Contact 02 9906 7522, E:, Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 63


Fitness Passport program engages members at Ripples Leisure Centre

Ripples Leisure Centre has reported that in the 12 months prior to Sydney’s recent lockdown, its Fitness Passport service and program delivery recorded a 60% increase in engagement - one of the highest results in metropolitan Sydney and across the country, and during a challenging time for businesses. Ripples centres in Penrith and St Marys introduced a focus on Fitness Passport in late 2019, when Council transitioned the aquatic and leisure facility to an internally managed model. The Fitness Passport program sees participating employers offer employees and their family members affordable gym memberships, which provide access to a wide range of facilities. Penrith City Council’s General Manager, Warwick Winn, said the results were a true reflection of the Centre’s ongoing dedication to bettering the health and wellbeing of residents advising “even in the midst of a pandemic, Ripples has adapted its programs to take services online and continue helping members embarking on their health and fitness journey – well done to all involved.” In recent months, the Centre has celebrated International Women’s Day and Seniors Week with a series of events focusing on strength and wellbeing, and activities aimed at nurturing engagement between seniors and children. Ripples facilities are currently closed in accordance with the government’s COVID-19 restrictions. Contact E:,

Yellowbox completes locker installations at Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks and State Library of NSW Technology company Yellowbox has completed the installation of 348 smart lockers at the State Library of NSW and an additional installation at Sydney’s World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks. The Yellowbox lockers offer self-serve access, allowing visitors to book and open up a locker on their own using the Yellowbox app. They are able to pay-for-use in the app, similar to ride sharing and food delivery apps. At the State Library of NSW, Yellowbox’s new cashless and digital system is market leading, having replaced the previous locker system that had been active for over five years. At the Hyde Park Barracks, Yellowbox also provided a management app for onsite staff. This provides staff with visibility over current usage and is a master key for the lockers. The lockers are made of laminate, and were manufactured in Australia by one of Yellowbox’s trusted manufacturers, Lockin. Contact 0426 292 533, E:, 64 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145

The P.A. People passes 50 years in business Audio visual experts The P.A. People have marked their 50th anniversary in business, growing from being established in a garage in the Sydney suburb of Enfield in the early 1960s then incorporated in July 1971. Growing to be one of the most well respected and diverse professional Audio and AV solution providers in the industry, The P.A. People has expanded from helping local church, schools, government and community events to move into larger scale systems integration activities at major venues and events, including the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The company continues to be an innovator in the provision of venue infrastructure across Australia having worked in over 15 of the country’s major sports venues and countless theatres and performing arts spaces, designing and installing audio systems, production communications, stage lighting, IPTV systems, LED screens and video production equipment. In many of these venues, The P.A. People’s tenure incorporates repeat engagements over periods spanning almost four decades. Contact 02 8755 8700, E:,

Clubfit Software offers innovative solution for member management Providing a new approach to conventional member management, Clubfit Software offers a revolutionary all-inone solution to clubs, saving club owners significant sums in transaction and software licence fees. Clubfit Software not only provides a comprehensive cloudbased Member Management solution, it also provides features including prospect/lead tracking, marketing, pos, online bookings (class/pt/creche/facility), accounts/financial reporting, integrated direct debit billing, access control and much more. This allows club owners to have full control over their daily operations all in one system from anywhere and replacing the situation many club owners in Australia face in having to engage with several different software platforms to access these features. Having a unique automated payment aggregation with the Australian banks, Clubfit Software can pass on to club owners very competitive wholesale price point on transaction fees, enabling them to save a significant amount of money each year. Contact 1300 148 361, E:

BH Fitness and Southern Fitness Wholesale partner to supply Australian market Leading international fitness equipment distributor BH Fitness has announced a partnership with Southern Fitness Wholesale to offer the Australian market a collection of fresh and new products, with a wide range of cardio, strength, indoor cycling and functional training equipment, ranging from premium options to others that are more versatile. A well-known European manufacturer that belongs to the long-standing BH Group, BH Fitness has over 30 years of experience in the industry and is a prominent fitness equipment distributor in over 120 countries. Introducing the joint endeavour, Tony Griffin, Chief Executive of Southern Fitness Wholesale, stated “we are in no doubt that the quality of BH Fitness’ technology products and solutions are the perfect fit for a market as dynamic as Australia.” Iñigo Salinas, the AsiaPacific Marketing Manager of the Spain-based company, noted “our value proposition is based on three cornerstones: a highquality product, connectivity and technology. “We have proprietary software to manage users and facilities called GYMLOOP, which is integrated with our cardio, strength and indoor cycling equipment, allowing us to offer our Australian customers a set of tools - routine management, class booking, gamification - that help to increase their retention rates and optimise the management of their fitness centres.” The Spanish brand, which has a strong network of subsidiaries and distributors across the world, is confident about deploying its knowledge and technology in the Australian professional market, by delivering the winning formula that has made it a key player in Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia. Contact 0417 860 062/+34 679 728 033, E:,


Polin introduces new Stingray waterslide with sound and light show Polin’s state-of-the-art technology ‘UTexture’ has produced the ‘Stingray’ - offering a waterslide that is unique in terms of its design configuration, engineering and ride path in which guests will explore the dark and mysterious ocean with a sound and light show. This four-lane, eight-passenger, high-capacity racing tube slide has much to offer in a compact design. The guests’ complete experience begins in the start tower with a custom, one-of-a-kind roof structure that not only provides shade but also a cooling mist overhead while guests get ready to enter one of the four flume entrances. The enclosed flumes have multiple interweaving ride paths that exit into two gigantic bowls before guests race to the end. The two bowls contain two unique paths in each - one that is larger in diameter, longer, faster and more exhilarating and one that is smaller in diameter, shorter, and especially entertaining. The Stingray keeps guests returning for a new experience each time based on their choice of lane and combination of rider weights. Contact Polin’s local distributors Swimplex Aquatics on 1300 796 759, E:,

World Athletics’ Mondo partnership drives release of new equipment designs World Athletics and its official equipment supplier Mondo have announced the release of a new range of equipment designs that it says will “revolutionise elite competition equipment”. Inspired by the innovative light show used in event presentation at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 and World Athletics’ new brand identity, Mondo has redesigned all of the equipment that is used in the elite competition arena - from lane markers and hurdles to landing mats and implement trolleys. Contact Spectrum Floors on 1300 786 585,

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‘Fields of Play’ civil engineering specialist SportEng expands with SCG office opening Civil engineering ‘Fields of Play’ specialists SportEng have opened their third office in Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Sydney office opening aims to strengthen the SportEng presence in NSW - beyond its existing locations in Melbourne and Brisbane, offering clients a greater access to their team, while providing services such as Field of Play and civil engineering design, turf audit and recommendations, project management, and irrigation design. Contact 03 9939 6355, E:, Australasian Leisure Management Issue 145 65

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Football NSW announces HG Turf Group as official supplier of hybrid grass


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Football NSW have announced leading sporting surfaces supplier HG Turf Group as their official supplier of hybrid grass. A market leader in hybrid grass solutions, since 1999 HG Turf Group has improved the quality of sport fields across Australia and New Zealand with Football NSW’s Manager - Government Relations, Funding and Infrastructure Daniel Ristic with Business Development some of their most significant installations Manager - Community Facilities for HG Turf’s Patrick Young. including AAMI Park, Bankwest Stadium, Eden Park, Gabba, MCG, Perth’s Optus Stadium, Wellington’s Sky Stadium and Sydney’s Stadium Australia. International sporting events have also used the Group’s hybrid grass, including the Olympic Games 2000, AFC Asian Cup 2015, Commonwealth Games 2006 and 2018 and Rugby World Cups 2003, 2011 and 2019. Football NSW and HG Turf Group already have a strong relationship, with HG Turf Group building the two FIFA certified synthetic turf pitches at Valentine Sports Park (VSP) in 2014. Since their opening, these synthetic turf pitches are heavily utilised and have increased the capacity of usage of the facility. To improve the durability and performance of the natural grass pitches at VSP, HG Turf Group approached Football NSW with a Hybrid Grass solution - SISGrass®. SISGrass uses needles to push artificial grass fibres into natural grass. The resulting mix of 95% natural grass and 5% artificial grass improves the stability and durability of the natural grass, providing up to three times more playing hours. It also improves the playability of the natural grass, with optimum ball roll and ball bounce, and ideal footing when turning and sliding. Contact 03 9329 8154, E:,

Swimming Australia partners with Elyptol Swimming Australia has partnered with Elyptol, one of Australia’s leading hand sanitisers to keep athletes, coaches, staff and spectators free from infection in and out of the pool. Australian-owned Elyptol, which manufactures its sanitisers in Victoria, were utilised at the 2021 Australian Age Swimming Championships and Australian Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast and at the Australian Swimming Trials. Swimming Australia President, Kieren Perkins notes “we’re really pleased to create a partnership with Elyptol, they are such a trusted Australian brand when it comes to hand sanitisation.” Elyptol hand sanitiser gels and wipes are widely used in Victorian hospitals and by NSW Paramedics. More information on Elyptol at

Abel Sports’ Australian made goal posts in the spotlight Leading sports post, goal and flag poles supplier Abel Sports is continuing working through the difficulties of ongoing lockdowns becoming the norm at its Melbourne headquarters. Fortunately, Abel Sports has been able to keep operating in order to support its clients in the construction and sporting industries. Abel Sports General Manager John Cann has also been participating in a media promotion for the Australian Made Campaign giving interviews on various radio stations throughout Australia. Cann has highlighted the advantage of using Australian made sporting equipment on sporting grounds not only for local councils, but also for major stadiums that have last minute requests that can only be fulfilled by locally manufactured products. Abel Sports NRL goal posts are installed at the Queensland Country Bank Townsville Stadium where the State of Origin game was moved to, Optus Stadium Perth where the AFL Dreamtime game was played and also the SCG where the annual Queens Birthday AFL game between Collingwood and Melbourne was played. Contact John Cann of Abel Sports on 0419 396 356, E:,


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