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Advocacy to protect and grow the industry In a year of restrictions and challenges, Lindsay McGrath CEO of SPASA Australia reflects on the year and the impact it has had on the peak industry body and how it has supported members.

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his year, I feel that we would all like to stop hearing how it has been a challenge. Words like “pivot” and “unpresented” have been used so often the meaning is becoming lost. What has not changed is the ongoing growth of the pool and spa industry. Backyards are full of people during this challenging time and our industry continues to add value and promote health and happiness through pool and spa ownership. 2020 saw advocacy and lobbying as a necessity to keep doors open and vans moving where possible across Australia and New Zealand. Chief health officers and politicians such as the Honourable Greg Hunt MP acknowledged the importance of healthy and sanitised backyards. The pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of our government-association relationships and the need to continually improve and develop them. The lockdowns did not stop the advancement into protecting and promoting the industry through multiple Australian and New Zealand standards. This year saw SPASA representation on more than 20 standards review committees, as well as supporting many federal and state reviews, and technical and strategic committees. Key standards such as pumps, heating, fencing and energy will all have an impact on how Australian and New Zealand homeowners view water and energy in the future. Climate Care Certified has been embraced by multiple suppliers, builders and manufacturers in promoting the innovative sustainable options our industry continues to develop. Water and energy authorities are listening to the association and

we are working with them to ensure pools and spas are seen in a positive and essential light. Consumers are searching for best practice advice and expect answers almost instantly. One of SPASA’s latest partners and member services, Podium, has helped the association speed up our interaction with the public. With thousands of regular consumers seeking SPASA’s advice, this tool has reduced our phone call volume by directing them to chat box texting services. This partnership, like many others, has become invaluable in saving time and reducing cost to our members. This latest member service adds to the already available options to reduce costs, improve customer service, increase positive reviews, save on vehicle expenses and protect through the right insurance. More than half a million dollars has been invested in education and training this year. The launch of the Institute of Research and Learning (IRLearning), formally known as SPASA Training, has provided multiple trade qualifications and certification pathways, providing increased opportunities for students to expand their businesses. Business centre webinars were provided free to all industry bodies for 12 weeks during the first covid-19 lockdown. More than 100 previous graduates have used this year to upgrade or add another trade qualification to one they had completed with SPASA in the previous years. This is a great testament to our IRLearning team who keep adapting our offerings based on student feedback. The Victorian Building Authority acknowledged the work SPASA has completed in Queensland and New South

22  SPLASH!  December 2020/January 2021

Wales regarding fencing qualifications. This has enabled IRLearning, the industry’s only dedicated registered training organisation, to deliver not just a course but physical inspections, so our students are qualified and start certifying as quickly as possible.

Expos and media

Social distancing meant that promotions were reduced – and unfortunately some state’s Pool & Spa Outdoor Living Expos did not go ahead. For the same reason, the Awards of Excellence program went online with virtual awards ceremonies. However, the pool and spa community reached more prospective buyers this year than any prior year. Unfortunately, the SPLASH! trade expo was postponed until 15th of August 2021. Although that was a disappointment, there were also positives in the communication landscape. The merger of the Pool + Spa Review brand purchased in 2019 saw SPLASH! magazine double its distribution and social and digital impacts, creating more than a million digital impressions for our brands. This enhancement to the SPLASH! brand has come directly from members and their

By Lindsay McGrath

SPLASH! has doubled its circulation over the past two years

marketing ideas and initiatives. We are extremely excited to see the expansion for the Pool & Spa Brand in 2021 as SPASA continues to promote the industry directly to consumers. Builder membership fee reductions were announced at the 2020 general meeting as part of the long-term plan that has seen fees fall over the past four years, from as much as $14,000 per year down to $1995. This is one of the many proud achievements we have made in reducing fees while increasing benefits to members. Policy development and growth ideas continuously flow up from our valued members to SPASA. Our ability to turn these into positive results for the industry is due in part to our committed partners and sponsors. I’d like to especially acknowledge our 2020 platinum sponsors Fluidra and Pentair, and gold sponsor Hayward, who along with many firms helped us move closer to the SPASA roadmap goal of 25 per cent industry growth by the year 2025. n

Profile for The Intermedia Group

SPLASH December 2020-January 2021  

SPLASH! is the leading trade publication for the Australasian “wet industry”, incorporating the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries....

SPLASH December 2020-January 2021  

SPLASH! is the leading trade publication for the Australasian “wet industry”, incorporating the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries....

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