The past two years have been the most challenging in recent times for the aquatic and leisure industry.
Following extensive shutdowns, the current leading challenge is an industry-wide workforce shortage. The challenge is not unique to our State nor industry and is being felt across many service industries nationwide. At an international level, it is also being felt in the northern hemisphere as they enter their summer period.
Victoria has arguably faced a perfect storm in the workforce context. The industry was continually amongst the first to close and last to open and as a result was unable to offer secure employment. This ultimately led to a significant loss of experienced industry personnel. According to NAB research, those cohorts that have traditionally worked in the industry were amongst the most likely to seek alternative employment. Combined with the removal of the overseas student workforce, limited targeted support, and the strict nature of the lockdowns, the industry has been burdened with a period of high staff turnover and COVID related reduced availability.
Despite best efforts, the results of these shortages has included instances of unplanned closures, when it was not possible for facilities to meet minimum safety standards. As a result, the industry has been unable to offer the same level of social, health and wellbeing benefits to local communities and visitors, has been unable to contribute its high return on investment and has also been unable to contribute to water safety. Whilst unfortune and disappointing, LSV acknowledges the critical nature of facility and water safety and is supportive of the difficult decisions that facility managers have been forced to make. These decisions were the right ones, and a small bonus is that the aquatic industry was able to celebrate a summer season free of any fatal drowning incidents at public pools. Well done and thank you.
Life Saving Victoria is continuing to support the needs of the Aquatic Industry and in 2022-23 LSV will be working on the following key projects in support of industry;
- Working with the National Aquatic Industry Committee to develop and clarify the GSPO
- Launching the Aquatics and Recreation Industry Services (ARIS) Portal
- Further free e-learning modules and professional development
- Supporting the Rejuvenating Regional Public Pools initiative
- Continued training and safety advocacy
- Return of the Pool Lifeguard Challenge (coming September 2022)
- Expanded Aquatic industry Summit (Save the date, 28 October 2022 @Marvel Stadium)
- Industry Benchmarking and Infrastructure Projects