The 50th Annual State Conference was always going to have an expectation to be a great event and it exceeded all our expectations.  With a record number of over 250 delegates attending over the two days of the conference, 39 Trade exhibitors laid out in a brand-new booth configuration and 215 attendees to the Annual State Dinner.


Monday 12th August [Day 1]

Jeff Fondacaro (President LIWA Aquatics) welcomed everyone to the 50th Annual State Conference and to announce that this would be his last as he will be stepping down from President after 12 years in the role. 

Welcome to Country

The welcome to country was spoken by Dennis Simmonds, who is the driving force behind Maar Koodjal who have recently partnered with Royal Life Saving Society WA.


Official Opening

The conference was then officially opened by Lisa O'Malley MLA the member for Bicton on behalf of the Honorable Mick Murray MLA, Minister for Seniors and Ageing; Volunteering; Sport and Recreation.

Lisa a former Aquarobics instructor at Fremantle Leisure Centre has been a great supporter of the aquatic industry and LIWA Aquatics for many years and has now seem to have scored this as a permanent gig, as this year was her third consecutive year and we have been delighted that she was able to officially opened our conference for us once again.

Our first official recognition award was presented to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries to thank them for their ongoing support to LIWA Aquatics and the Aquatic & Recreation Industry here in WA.  Jacqui Jashari who has been involved with LIWA Aquatics over several years attended the opening to accept the plaque.

Keynote Speaker - Alicia Curtis

Links Modulation Solutions (Platinum Sponsor) Matt Hughes introduced our Keynote Speaker Alicia Curtis. Alicia is one of Western Australia’s most inspiring social and business entrepreneurs as an award-winning speaker, leadership facilitator and community change maker.   Alicia spoke about being the importance of being bold to inspire the next generation to step and take on the leadership role.


Industry Service Awards

Before we broke for morning tea LIWA Aquatics recognised a number of industry members for their service to the aquatic recreation industry.  The following members received 10-year and 20-year awards.

  • 10 year service awards: Isabel Franzoni, Damien Groves, Zac Hambley Jeannette Hooper, Jaye Jose, Mary Segond Von Banchet, John Beard
  • 20 year service award: Nick Wilkinson

Other recipients of the industry service award but not in attendance are:

  • 10 years: Patrick Allin, Dan Barber, Matt Browne, Michael English, Llew Franich, Michael Lethlean, Phillip Osborne, Renae Dobson, Jacqui Forbes, Travey Haverhoek & Katrina Parsons
  • 20 years: Sean Badani, Dylan Brown, Nat Hozier, Michael Wall, Vanessa Chrisp & Margaret Pasini.

Trade Exhibition

This year’s Trade Exhibition saw brand new booths for the 39 Traders which raised the professionalism of the exhibition to another level.  It was great to see new exhibitors and to welcome back ones that have supported LIWA Aquatics for over 40 years.

Delegates were given Passports which required them to go to each booth and get them to stamped.  Once all the passport was stamp it allowed the delegate to get an entry card from a committee member to go into the draw for some great prizes.    The Passport was for delegates to keep so they then had the Trade exhibitor' information to take away.

Full Conference Photo Gallery at end of this article

Breakout Sessions

The first of the breakout sessions saw two streams

  • Stream A provided presentations from Department of Education around VacSwim, Swimming WA then Masters Swimming WA. 

  • Stream B - provided delegates with an overview of the new Australian Standards for usage and storage of liquefied chlorine gas presented by Ixom

Break for lunch and further networking with colleagues and Trade exhibitors

The second Breakout sessions were broken into a Management Stream and an OHS Stream.

In the Management Stream, Ian Crawford once again inspired delegates to develop and build on teams in the workplace and how to provide a good culture.

This was then followed up with an information around CSRFF and other funding by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Kent Burton.

Geoff Ninnes then provided information surrounding Asset Management and to issues currently faced with many facilities around tiling failures in the pool.

In the OHS Stream Clinton Heal a former lifeguard at the Mandurah Aquatic Centre and now CEO of Melanoma WA provided a very informative session surrounding his battle with Melanoma and the precautions that all facilities should be taking to protect themselves and their staff in the aquatic environment.

The next OHS session then saw Paul Kelly from Royal Life Saving WA discuss the all import components of Risk Assessments and how to investigate incidents prior to them happening.


Afternoon Tea allowed delegates to revisit the Trade Exhibition just prior to the AGM.  The AGM was chaired by President Jeff Fondacaro who was stepping down and Nick Wilkinson was voted in as the new President.  John East was also voted in as the latest Life Member of LIWA Aquatics.

LIWA Aquatics 50th Annual Dinner

This year's dinner could only be one theme and that was Gold.  Turning 50 years is a magnificent achievement and the dinner reflected this.  The dinner hosted 215 attendees, Peter Rowsthorn (Comedian) played MC and Jeff (our outgoing President) finished the night playing with his Band (Band X).

Jeff welcomed everyone and had a long list of acknowledgements to get through.  Amongst these were the LIWA Aquatic Life Members include founding members Fred Smith who recently turned 91 years old and John "Robbo" Robertson both haven't missed a conference in the past 50 years.

A few awards were presented on the night and LIWA Aquatics would like to congratulate the follow award winners.

Watch Around Water Facility of the Year Award - Shire of Esperance (Bay of Isles Aquatic Centre)

Waterwise Aquatic Facilities (in partnership with the Water Corporation)

  • City of Bayswater – Bayswater Waves
  • City of Cockburn – Cockburn Aquatic & Recreational Centre
  • City of Stirling – Scarborough Beach Pool
  • Shire of Broome – Broome Recreation & Aquatic Centre
  • Shire of Exmouth – Paltridge Memorial Swimming Pool
  • Town of Kwinana – Kwinana Recquatic

Other facilities recognised but could not be in attendance were City of Albany and Shire of Boddington

30-year industry service awards - Mark Nelli and Chris Retallack


President's Award Winners - This year saw a first for the president's award to be awarded to a couple, Trevor and Adele Caporn from remote area pool in the northern region of Fitzroy Crossing.


Peter Rowsthorn entertained the room with some comic relief throughout the night and some MC duties alongside Jeff.


Jeff Fondacaro was celebrated on the night with a touching speak from close friend and previous LIWA Aquatics President and EO Tony Head, Jeff received a standing ovation and applause from all in the room for his outstanding contribution to the aquatic & recreation industry.


Jeff’s Band (Band X) then got everyone up on the dance floor for an evening of celebration and dance.  The Photo Booth outside got a work out and all the photos from this can be viewed by clicking the link the end of this article.


 Tuesday 13th August (Day 2)

Nick Wilkinson the new LIWA Aquatics President welcomed everyone to day 2 of the conference.

Keynote Speaker - GG Frantz

Links Modular Solutions Matt Hughes again welcomed our Keynote speaker for day 2 Gunther "GG" Frantz.   GG who currently works in our industry as an aquatic supervisor is also a praised keynote speaker and a best-selling author.  GG spoke about the many hats of an aquatic supervisor and how people need to be resilient and motivated to gain success in our industry.


Morning tea saw delegates who are attending the Trade Exhibition for the first time engaging with the trade booths and to catch up on networking with industry colleagues.

The session after morning tea welcomed back delegates to par-take in a conference first.  This session revolved around the LIWA Aquatics Strategic Plan and delegates were asked a few questions around this.  Firstly, delegates were split up from the formed grouped tables to ensure each table had a wide variety of delegates from various regions and time in the industry. 

The Industry workshop was designed to gain the feedback from the members to get a gauge on what LIWA Aquatics is currently doing well and how we could be better.  The interactive way that the session was held allowed everyone to see up on the screen live feedback that was being feed from the tables through an interactive app on their mobile phones.    This sessions feedback has been positive and LIWA Aquatics will collate the information obtained and feed this back to the industry on how we will move forward and prioritised.

The Delegates broke again for Lunch which allowed the room to be split into 2 streams, Employment Opportunities and Facility Reviews.

Stream A provided information from Apprenticeship Support Australia regarding Apprentice and Traineeship opportunities for aquatic facilities followed on by Tim Turner who provide delegates information surrounding the Talent Pool Program and how we can engage with and develop local indigenous talent within our communities.

Stream B focused on Facility Reviews which saw presentations from City of Wanneroo Aquamotion who recently went through some major works surround tiling issues in the pool and major leaking in underground pipework.  New technology called Tunnel Vision was able to find the source of the leak and the ability to seal the leak with new tech.


Armadale Fitness & Aquatic Centre provided an overview of the newly rebuilt facility and RLSS provided an insight to remote area pools and the newly built Pools and Balgo and Kalumbarru and the importance of not just building and working in these facilities but the connection you develop with these indigenous communities.


The break for Afternoon tea allowed the room to be moved back to a full room and the last session of the day which saw an informative session from St John Ambulance around the First Responder Program. 


This wrapped up the conference official presentations and all that was left was the raffle draw and post conference drinks at the bar.

I would like to thank all the presenters, delegates & trade exhibitors for taking time out of their business schedules to support LIWA Aquatics and to help us celebrate our 50th Anniversary.  Thank you to the hotel, event and catering staff at Esplanade Hotel Fremantle, who have been looking after us for the past 15 years. 

And thank you for the ongoing support and commitment to the LIWA Aquatics Board who volunteer their time and efforts to help present these great events for the aquatic & recreation industry.

Photo Galleries

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Contact LIWA

ABN:  35 334 789 538

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

  1. PO Box 726, Hillarys, WA 6923
  2. (08) 9383 8238
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