21st Annual North West Seminar Broome


The 2017 North West Seminar was conducted at the Broome Recreation and Aquatic Centre on the 18th – 19th of May.  Another milestone reached in Maintaining the Network in the regions with the 21st annual event attracting 45 delegates and exhibitors from as far away as Warburton on the edge of Western Australian and South Australian border.  Well done to Steve (I don’t get to dance much in Warburton) Girschik for making the massive trek to attend.

The event was also very well supported by our trade partners with Nick Bohm from Prominent making the long trek from NSW and George Lech from Ixom doing the hard yards to get to sunny Broome for a few days.  Along with Rod from Trisley’s, Ed from Sigma, Greg from Chadson’s, Chris from MTP, Kim from CAS and Sue from AUSTSWIM who also attended meant there was a great deal of knowledge in the room.  The Board and members of LIWA Aquatics are grateful for this support.  But it is the delegates who make this event and this year it was wonderful to see so many in attendance enjoying the company and great vibe that is the essence of a North West Seminar.

The seminar effectively kick off on the Thursday which was a long days training for many of the delegates who took advantage of the funded Pool Lifeguard Requalification the SCBA refresher.  Starting early was the requalification where Steve and Chris focused on the needs of the Single Operator and their potential to respond to a major aquatic incident.  The need to be able to instruct bystanders on how to assist, where equipment is located and who to contact in any potential emergency is a critical skill along with performing CPR for extended periods.  By the end of these session all the participants are completed over 15 minutes of continuous CPR.

Also workshopped during the requalification was the potential ways to remove an unconscious person from the water in a safe, efficient and effective manner if you are on your own at the pool.  This issue is never considered in major metropolitan facilities but are a possible reality in regional and remote areas.  Watching Colin trying to move Steve from the pool by himself was entertaining to say the least!  The introduction of Pulse Oximeters to the training was also informative.  Simple and effective to use it highlights the fact that in the past the introduction was often not necessary and could have proved to be harmful to the injured person.

The afternoon session was delivered by Kris Trewhella from our industry partner Priority 1 Fire and Safety.  The provision of the SCBA refresher was well received by members and Kris is a great trainer who always presents an informative and practical session.  It was great for everyone to have their skills refreshed as in some facilities with a 920 drum on site there may not be the opportunity to don and doff the units frequently.

The official seminar began on Friday with a welcome from our MC LIWA Aquatics Vice President Chris Blankley who welcomed the delegates to Broome and provided some background to the day and nights schedule.  He then introduced long term Shire President Councillor Ron Johnston.  Ron gave some background on the facility and the projects currently underway in the Shire of Broome and plans for the future before handing over to the BRAC Manager Casey Zepnick.  Casey provided a great snapshot of the recent upgrade of the facility that included a new plant room, complete replacement of the concourse and some refurbishment of the pool.  The facility has been transformed and the team has done a wonderful job in ensuring the community has a facility of which they can be justifiably proud.  Long time staff member Ian Chester conducted the site tour and took all the delegates through his new plantroom which was a massive step up from the existing one.  The project suffered very few delays but 200mm of rain in a day can lead to a very boggy red dirt site.  But the finished product is great and the water is beautiful.

The breaks during the seminars are always a great time to catch up and have a chat with the other delegates and the trade representatives in attendance.  The Broome weather was outstanding and the centre staff could not have made us any more welcome as they showcased their facility.

After morning tea David Hawkins from Water Corporation provided an insight into the organisations more unique community engagement projects in the Kimberley’s.  Even the delegates from the region were unaware of the great programs that have been developed with a number of local community indigenous organisations.  Water Corporation are responsible for water and wastewater services in 19 towns across the Pilbara and Kimberley, as well as Christmas and Cocos Islands.

The West Kimberley Community Grants Scheme has seen waste water reused to grow Rhodes grass, as safe and environmentally friendly way of disposing of Broome’s wastewater.  The grass is then cut, bailed and sold to local farmers for stock feed.  The local Lions Club manage the sale of the cut grass return for a 50% of the sale proceeds that can then be used for community projects.  There are a number of similar projects including the native seed bank, community signage tackling antisocial behaviour and the leasing of land to establish native fruit tree orchards.  These projects have created a new source of funding for community projects in the West Kimberley and provided ongoing employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal people.  A great story.

Following on from David I provided an update on the WaterWise Pools funding that was made available to LIWA Aquatics through the Regional Pools Redevelopment Program.  Funding is available for eight facilities to have a comprehensive water audit completed and to provide assistance with the facilities being endorsed as WaterWise.  Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,au if you are interested in having your facility included in this year’s project.

As most of industry are aware Chlorine Gas across Australia is now provided by Ixom (formerly Orica Chemicals) who first became involved with LIWA Aquatics at last year’s state conference in Perth.  The relationship has developed and this year and the companies Training Manager George Lech delivered a great presentation to the delegates on his Learnings from Distant Locations.  George provided a great insight into some of the most regular problems faced by gas users and some of the issues Ixom face when drums and cylinders are returned to the company in particular with the valves.  It was a great practical presentation enjoyed by the delegates and George got great feedback from his session.

Prior to lunch MC Chris had all the Trade Exhibitors up at the front of the room to introduce themselves and to promote the goods and services they provide for our industry.  It is a great benefit to our members to have the companies that service our industries in attendance and of course Sigma Chemicals were happy to supply an initiative that keep’s people thinking Sigma.  Well done Ed!

After a great lunch in the balmy Broome weather it was back into the seminar room for the afternoon sessions that included a focus on the state of our industry by Peter Leaversuch and I was able to highlight some of the wonderful initiatives and successful outcomes of Watch Around Water over the past season.  Peter focused on the size and complexity of our industry now as well as the great advancements that had taken place in the compliance of our facilities against the Code of Practice requirements and the Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations.  Maintaining and continually improving these standards of compliance ensures that as an industry we are at the forefront in the provision of safer aquatic venues.

Steve Good and Trent Hotchkin finished the afternoon session with Steve focusing on the changes to training in Pool Lifeguard and Pool Operations, the funding available for regional pools in this area and Trent focused on opportunities for assistance with Junior Lifeguard Club and the Swim for Fruit Program.

The final session of the day was one of the most empowering sessions I have listen to at any of the regional seminars I have attended in the past 20 years.  The passion articulated by the members in the room on how they interact with their communities and towns was inspiring.  If anyone ever doubted the need for aquatic facilities in remote environments all they needed to do was to listen and learn from these passionate individuals who are clearly making lifesaving and life changing difference to the physical and mental wellbeing in their communities.  Chris did a wonderful job in keeping the day flowing and we thank his employer, the Shire of Mundaring for allowing him time to contribute to our industry. 

The Shire of Broome, our major supporters the Department of Sport and Recreation and Royal Life Saving contributed to making this a very successful event which was rounded off by a great night out with dinner and some more dancing (yes Steve we were watching).  Thanks to all members for attending and to those having a break, enjoy.

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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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