16th Annual North West Seminar

Maintaining the Network

The 2012 North West Seminar was a great success with over 50 delegates and trade representatives in attendance over the 3 days of the seminar. Hosted by the Shire of Broome at the town's recreation and aquatic facilities the hospitality, the weather and the location were all perfect.

The seminar kicked off on the Thursday morning when the Royal Life Saving Society's team of pool managers from the remote indigenous community pools got together for their in-service session. This annual review of what is a very long season for these industry members provided a great opportunity to look at what worked and what didn't, share common experiences and to debrief before another season commences. The six pool managers now have a vast level of experience in working in remote communities and in the way they relate to these communities individually. It was great to see Jamie O'Donohue recognised for his contribution with an award from the Injury Control Council after what had been a very stressful 2011 with flooding of the pool and his personal residence in Warmun.


Jamie and Greg

The 16th LIWA Aquatics North West Seminar was officially opened by the days Master of Ceremonies, Chris Blankley on behalf of our President Jeff Fondacaro. A snapshot of Jeff's comments included the following:

"On behalf of the LIWA Aquatics Executive I would like to welcome all delegates to the Broome Recreation and Aquatic Centre for the 16th Annual North West Seminar. I am very sorry that I am not able to join you this year and will endeavour to attend in 2013. I think it is very fitting that this year we have both Karin Kelly and Peter Leaversuch attending. I doubt Karin has missed any of the previous 15 years seminars and Levo whilst being absent for a few years was instrumental with Karin and the Department of Sport and Recreation in kick starting this annual event."

Chris then introduced the first presentation of the day that was delivered by Teagan Wilkie the Community Engagement Manager for the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series. Teagan was able to update the delegates on exactly what was proposed for the North West and the time fames of activities that would accompany the Super Series. These included activations and events throughout the North West over the next three years that would see coaching clinics, elite swimmers in the region and travel opportunities for kids to participate in events in Perth. It is a great opportunity for the regions and one LIWA Aquatics is very pleased to be involved in.



Tegan Wilkie

The second presentation then saw the men in blue enter the room! Local Police Officers Alan Ingram and Ian Maw then spent 45 minutes fielding questions relating to patron behaviour, drugs, alcohol abuse and the rights of our managers in a range of situations. The room was abuzz with comments and the sharing of both common and not so common events was enjoyed by all the delegates. There were a range of issues discussed during the session and it highlighted the need to include the Police in ongoing professional development opportunities and the need to work closely with the local police in your communities.


wa police

Ian Maw and Alan Ingam

After morning tea the delegates were ushered back into the room where Chris introduced LIWA Aquatics Life Member Peter Leaversuch who covered a wide range of topics in his presentation. Pete started with updating the delegates on the findings of the 2011 Industry Profile and focused in on the Pilbara and Kimberly regions. The second part of the presentation focused on the Risk Management Building Blocks that had been developed by industry of the past 20 years. This highlighted how far we have come as an industry in ensuing our facilities are safer now than ever before and it is the eighth consecutive year there have been no drownings in public aquatic centres. The final part of the presentation focused on Diving Boards, Starting Blocks, Water Slides and Inflatable Devices. The session provoked a great deal of discussion and many good safety issues were highlighted in the room.

The next session was presented by LIWA Aquatics Board Member and RLSSWA Senior Lifeguard Trainer, John East. John gave a great insight into developing supervision skills and its integration with Watch Around Water. The session highlighted just what is effective supervision and how to recognise the signs that your staff are not switched on when they are supervising the pool. John highlighted that it is critical to assist your staff to learn and understand these critical skills which are vital in ensuring our pools have constant and vigilant supervision.


John wound up with a snapshot of Watch Around Water for this year that included the following:

• 102 Registered Facilities
• 16 new facilities
• New resources launched "Your Child Your Focus"
• Colouring In Competition held over Xmas

Coming Up in the new year

• Online training
• Translation of resources
• WAW Branded pool inflatable

Sue Warner from Austswim then took the opportunity to promote the MATE Program. Making Aquatics a Terrific Experience is aimed at carers with family or friends with medical conditions or disabilities. The program looks to up skill those individuals so they can better engage and understand both the barriers to participation and how to enhance the aquatic experience for individuals with a disability of medical condition. For further information on this program contact Sue on this email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

After a lunch in the warm North West sun I presented a session on the new Faecal Contamination Responses developed by the WA Health Department and LIWA Aquatics. People often say I talk a lot of crap and this was my chance to update delegates on our new procedures for dealing with contamination and vomit in our pools.

The next session was presented by long time DSR Regional Manager, Dean Holder. Dean provided some very relevant information of upcoming events in the North West as well as a range of funding opportunities that can be accessed by both local government and community groups. Dean highlighted the need for effective planning, costing and consultation to accompany any CSRFF funding applications. He was clear that there is funding available for a range of programs and projects and if you are not sure about eligibility you can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chris Blankley then provided a short presentation about the importance of developing good assessment management planning in-line with the facilities operations document. He provided some great examples of things that had gone wrong in facilities and some of the associated capital costs associated in rectifying problems. Chris provided templates to the delegates of one method of categorising assets in a facility to ensure all sections of the facility are considered in the overall asset management plan.

The last presentation of the day was by Trent Hotchkin the Manager of the Swim and Survive Department of Royal Life Saving. Trent promoted the success of the "Swim for Fruit Program" that had been running in the remote community pools. The objectives of the program are to:

• Primarily increase physical activity levels via school, after school and weekend swimming programs
• Support healthy eating through a reward/incentive system
• Targeting Aboriginal youth and adolescent (5-15 year olds)
• Target at risk regional/remote communities

Trent was able to inform delegates that RLSSWA had secured funding from both Heathway and BHP Billiton to extend the program in the North West to:

• 2012/13 - 10 Aquatic Centres
• 2013/14 - 12 Aquatic Centres
• 2014/15 - 16 Aquatic Centres
The funding includes up to $4000 per facility to be used for instructors, resources and equipment, training and professional development and community or presentation days. Contact Trent at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details of this exciting initiative.


Trent Hotchkin

The final session of the day is one that everyone enjoys participating in and provides an opportunity to discuss the past season and plans for the future with all the mangers in the room. Chris completed the wrap up and thanked all the sponsors that attended or provided tangible support for the seminar. These included:

• Chadson Engineering for compendiums
• Royal Life Saving Society for its ongoing support of LIWA Aquatics
• Sigma Chemicals for a great show bag for the delegates and drinks sponsorship at the annual dinner
• John Shenton for dinner sponsorship
• The Department of Sport and Recreation for its ongoing support of LIWA Aquatics
• AVP Commercial Pools
• The Shire of Broome and Ian Chester who provided the venue and made bringing the conference to Broome very easy

group 2012

The Delegates

With the formal side of the day over the delegates met again at 7pm at Divers Tavern for a beautiful meal and a few drinks in the beer garden. The night provided a great opportunity to get to know people better and discuss relevant issues in a very agreeable setting. The night was tempered for many of the delegates as they were due to be up early to complete their Pool Lifeguard requalification at BRAC.

big fella

The Big Fella back and enjoying himself!

familar faces

The usual suspects

halls creek

Halls Creek Mob

ed and pam

Ed and Pam

brains trust

The Brains Trust

As with all events such as this they don't just happen and a great deal of thanks must go to Chris Blankley, Karin Kelly and John East for their continued involvement in this now institutional event. From humble beginnings 16 years ago the seminar attracted over 50 delegates and trade suppliers to this years event and shows that "Maintaining the Network" is of critical importance to our industry members.

Tony Head
Executive Officer
LIWA Aquatics


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We provide support, professional development and networking opportunities for individuals in the aquatic industry throughout Western Australia.

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