July Advocacy Update

Innovation Grant City of Sydney

AUSactive was successful in a recent grant application with the City of Sydney that will fund an Innovative Sustainability Project. We will develop an online toolkit that will educate and empower our members to improve their use of water, energy, chemicals and waste. This will ultimately help the environment and in many instances, provide commercial benefits for our members.

This project will originally be piloted within the City of Sydney and then we intend on rolling out the program so that it is available to our members nationally. By creating a positive impact on the environment, we can improve the health and well-being of our communities and this will set an example for other industries to follow.

Submission to the Review on My Aged Care

AUSactive recently made a submission to the Australian Government’s review to improve the Aged Care system. The review is looking at ways that the government can improve the health of older adults which is why we emphasised that staying fit becomes even more important as we age. Older adults need different ways to work out and build muscle for strength and mobility, and to improve their mental health and quality of life.

AUSactive registered professionals are delivering programs for older adults that target conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, depression, stroke, osteoporosis and diabetes and there is evidence that clients undertaking these programs are able to maintain their independence, reduce their risk of falls and avoid hospital. Our members also have the ability to deliver evidence-based strength, balance and aerobic programs to complement the care being provided to older adults by allied health, specialists and GPs, and we believe your important contributions should be recognised under our health care system

We have therefore asked the government to enable older adults to use their funding under My Aged Care, for exercise programs delivered by registered AUSactive professionals, that improve their wellbeing. Personal trainers are already recognised under the NDIS to increase people’s physical mobility and we believe that this recognition should be extended under the My Aged Care funding program.

We expect the review to be completed by December2023, and we will let you know about the outcome.

Sutherland Shire Council

As per our recent reporting on this topic, AUSactive previously expressed its concerns to Sutherland Shire Council, that their proposed fee increases for outdoor personal training permits could create a barrier to Personal Trainers conducting their business outdoors in the area. AUSactive suggested that as an alternative, the Council could implement an Outdoor Fitness Training Code of Conduct for Personal Trainers to use parks and open spaces in the Sutherland Shire, that would not require a permit fee.  We understand that many of you also wrote to the Council asking that they not increase their fees as it would impact your businesses.

Despite all of this, Sutherland Council proceeded with its fee increases for outdoor personal training permits. However we are pleased to report that the feedback supplied by AUSactive and the community was considered, and the fees were significantly decreased by between 30-65% from what was originally proposed. The new fee structure ranges between $450 for a permit if you are a non-profit organisation and/or train less than 3 people- to $3,000 for training 16-20 people, with further details HERE.

AUSactive still remains concerned that these fee increases may create a barrier to Personal Trainers conducting their business outdoors in the Sutherland Shire. Especially as many of you have told us, that you run programs in in the area at a nominal rate and that they are more of a service to “give back” to the community, and that any fee increases would stop these programs from continuing.

Which is why AUSactive is committed to working with Sutherland as well as all councils around Australia to cut red tape and make it more cost effective and easier for exercise professionals to conduct outdoor training sessions, to increase the levels of physical activity in local communities.

If council permit fee increases will stop your program from running, please get in touch ([email protected]) to see if we can support you. It is our intention at AUSactive to support our members as best we can, and to try and keep all programs running, that keep people moving.

Recognition of the importance of physical activity in Romania/ VAT free Leisure UK

There have been some great developments in tax reform for the active health and exercise industry on a global level. We recently saw a huge win for the recognition of the importance of physical activity and the impact the fitness industry has on the health of the economy in Romania. The Romanian government has made all gym, health club and other fitness subscriptions and memberships tax-free.

This means companies can offer gym memberships and other fitness subscriptions as tax-free and deductible non-wage benefits. The tax exemptions also cover companies offering “mixed preventative care”, which covers specific physical activity and medical subscriptions relating to recovery and recuperation. Tax-free subscriptions can also be offered to the children of employees or other persons in their care.

Important reforms have also been made in the UK as Councils are no longer obliged to charge VAT on leisure, including gym membership.

This is very encouraging for our advocacy at AUSactive to have the importance of physical activity recognised by other governments. We now have precedents to refer to our politicians to introduce tax-free fitness for Australians.  It is also encouraging that there are like-minded exercise and fitness associations like ‘Active Romania’ promoting these kinds of significant reforms.

As these reforms focus on the importance of physical activity as preventive health, they will provide a framework for governments like Australia to look at the kind of impact and investment they make on the economy and the health system.

See you next month!

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