Thursday, February 1, 2024

Proposed Notice of Motion: Review Innerwest Aquatic Centre Fees & Domestic Waste Charge 13 Feb 2024

Ashfield Aquatic Centre(AAC) Construction Site July 2020

Notice of Motion: Review Innerwest Aquatic Centre Fees & Domestic Waste Charge

From Councillor Marghanita da Cruz

That Council

1. Receive a Report on the Review of 5 Aquatic Centre charges and fees in time for adoption of new fees on 1 July 2024. The Terms of Reference, for the review, to include:

  1. direct debit and credit card charges

  2. costs and sources of Income for each of the 5 aquatic centres.

  3. training of Life Savers and other staff such as personal trainers and nutitionalists.

    Moveable Floor AAC

  4. fees for school carnivals

  5. fees for Squad training

  6. minimum and maximum adult and children costs to swim, use the gym and other facilites based on weekly use for six months -including actual use, income and days/hours open 1 July – 31 Dec 2023.

  7. aquaaerobics including fees for adults and seniors at each pool

  8. access to each pool – public transport, population living within 400m,cycling and parking including transport for staff.

  9. how a seasonal fee would work

  10. extending the hours and days each centre is available to the public or available for private use (self provision of Life Guards etc)

  11. Upgrades required to move away from gas (co-gen), cos and grants

  12. operation of Moveable Floor at Ashfield

  13. comparitive costs at Pools within our LGA and adjacent LGAs.

  14. consultation with the community and centre users

FOGO Bin King Street Newtown

2. There is considerable dissatisfaction in the community about the rollout of FOGO and in the light of the FOGO rollout the Domestic Waste Charge also needs review in time for adoption of new fees on 1 July 2024.

Plant Room  AAC under construction 24Jul2020

Plant Room AAC under construction 24Jul2020

Steam Room & Sauna AAC under construction 24Jul2020

Indoor Pool  AAC under construction 24Jul2020
Royal Life Saving recognised our Lifeguards for outstanding actions (Dawn Fraser Baths November 2017)

Background

Two writers, to all councillors, have independently highlighted that the fees charged for Squad and Carnival use of our Aquatic Centres are stopping children from enjoying activities at our pools.


  • Ashfield Aquatic Centre—pool hire = $730.00

    School carnival students' entry fees  = $1,344.00 (seeking a waiver on entry fees only). This has been increased for 2024 to $1,820 based on 350 students.”

    In addition to these costs to our, and other local public schools, is that of the bus hire fees.

  • The reasons given too for not being able to incl. swim lessons on a Friday from 1-2 pm in summer was that other people used the pool.

    Needless to say, I've checked and there's rarely a person, and certainly not enough in numbers, to prevent school use of a few lanes.

    It's ridiculous that local public schools must go to pools outside their LGA to have swim. lessons, which is currently the case.

    Council can give free use of some facilities to applicants who may or may not be residents and pay for murals etc but cannot support free entry to a pool once a year!

    Ant worse still, to price gouge. It's why some schools now only send swimmers to carnivals which is a shame as it breaks down the fun, the house support system and a sense of belonging—the latter to which IWC pays lip service!!

  • Others have raised issues with direct debit failure fees.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the light of this correspondence I have looked over the Charges and Fees we adopted last June in more detail. It seems there are a myriad of fees and we may have lost the plot.

Fees are listed against each pool even though they may be the same across pools. Such repitition is prone to errors. Eg Adult entry to Ashfield, Leichhardt an Annette Kellerman is $9.80 (but is listed three times) Adult Entry to Fanny Durack is $6.80 and to Dawn Fraser $6.60. This is according to webpage for each pool and the Fees and Charges Document. There has not been a check or advice on fees actually charged and collected online and at the centres themselves.

If these fees reflect costs, they should be seasonal making the pools more accessible in Summer.

Direct Debit Charges

Review of the Fees & Charges 2023/24 adopted June 2023 says a Direct Debit Transaction Fee will apply. This is not unusual except that the Australian Consume and Competition Commission (ACCC) provides the following guidance on such fees.

ACCC: Card surcharges

  • Businesses can charge a surcharge for paying by card, but the surcharge must not be more than what it costs the business to use that payment type.

  • If a business charges a payment surcharge, it must be able to prove the costs it is based on.

  • If there is no way for a consumer to pay without paying a surcharge, the business must include the surcharge in the displayed price.

https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/pricing/card-surcharges viewed 31 Jan 2024

“Do you charge customers a surcharge on transactions? This is a quick guide to what you can and can’t include when working out your surcharge. From 1 September 2017, all businesses that impose payment surcharges on card transactions need to comply with the new law that bans excessive payment surcharge” ..- A guide for business Payment surcharges –only charge what it costs youJanuary 2018 www.accc.gov.au source: https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/1193_Payment%20surcharges_FA_web03.pdf viewed 1 Feb 2024.

The Direct Debit Transation Fee is referred to in relation to various charges such as Membership on page 43.

Credit Card Charges are shown on page 101 of fees and charges at 0.75%. However Fanny Durack webpage says “A Credit card transaction fee of 0.8% applies on all credit card payments” and “Adult (17 yrs and over)$6.80”


From Fees & Charges2023/24Adopted June 2023

A few other anomalies jumped out of the fees and charges:

  • There is a reference to the "Leichhardt Municipality" and surprisingly the “olympic” pool and is shown as the same fee as the diving pool (Sporting Clubs/school swimming)

  • There is a statement “A parent accompanying a non-paying child (under 5 years) is required to purchase an adult entry for safety reasons.” at https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/explore/aquatic-centres/ashfield-aquatic-centre/prices-and-membership

  • There is minimal incentive to buy 20 passes instead of 10 (so, why have 20pack) https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/explore/aquatic-centres/ashfield-aquatic-centre/prices-and-membership viewed 30 Jan 2024

  • Annette Kellerman shows a Spectator 10 and 10 pack on page37 of fees and charges

  • Does this allow grandparents to take join up for a family pass? “Family 4 persons (max 2 adults)”..”Family entry terms and conditions: Family pool entry or family swim passes. To be eligible for pool entry, adults must be parents or guardians of the children, or alternatively, they must be adults who live with the children in the same domestic dwelling.” https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/explore/aquatic-centres/ashfield-aquatic-centre/prices-and-membership

Adult 10 visit swim pass

$77.50

Adult 20 visit swim pass

0

Child/School student 10 visit swim pass

42.9

Child/School student 20 visit swim pass

$85.20 (discount of – 40c)

(fanny durack is $59.30 on pg 41 of fees and charges)

Senior card holder/Tertiary student 10 visit swim pass (card required)*

64.1

Senior card holder/Tertiary student 20 visit swim pass (card required)*

0

Family 4 persons (max 2 adults)”..”Family entry terms and conditions: Family pool entry or family swim passes. To be eligible for pool entry, adults must be parents or guardians of the children, or alternatively, they must be adults who live with the children in the same domestic dwelling.” Does this allow grandparents? https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/explore/aquatic-centres/ashfield-aquatic-centre/prices-and-membership

Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre accepts Fitness Passport for pool entry but does not have consistant ages with the other pool.“...“A Credit card transaction fee of 0.8% applies on all credit card payments” -”

Adult (17 yrs and over)

$6.80

Child (5 - 16 yrs - children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult)

$3.90

Child under 5yrs (with paying adult)

FREE

https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/explore/aquatic-centres/fanny-durack-aquatic-centre/prices-and-memberships

Charged as fortnightly direct debits

 Mini squad - 1 visit per week*

 $41.28

Junior squad - 1 visit per week*

$45.40

*Second child enrolled receives a 7% discount, third and subsequent children receive a 14% discount.

Note:

  1. The upgrade of LPAC is being planned currently and such a review would inform this planning.

  2. A T-Corp (NSW Gov) loan over 20 year was taken out to pay for Ashfield Aquatic Centre Upgrade. The 15/6 Ashfield LGA SRV included the upgrade of the Pool. “The increases would generate an additional $11.9 million above the rate peg over the
    4-year period which will be used to accelerate the redevelopment of its Aquatic Centre, renew other assets and improve its financial sustainability” https://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Local-Government/Reviews/Special-Variations-Minimum-Rates/Special-Variations-Minimum-Rates-2015-16