Inner West Independent

Inner West Council considers discounted pool entry for those receiving government support

Inner West Council is considering lowering the price of entry to its aquatic centres. Photo: Inner West Council.

By ASTON BROWN

The Inner West Council is considering reducing the cost of entry to its pools for people receiving social security support.

If passed, the proposal will see a casual swimming fee of $1.20 for social security recipients across all Inner West Council Aquatic facilities.

The current pensioner swimming fee is $4.70 at most pools.

Greens Candidate for Inner West Ashfield Ward Dylan Griffiths has been campaigning for the change since April.

“It’s a great change, it means that job seekers, people on the disability support pension, people on the aged pension, will be able to access the pool when it might have been previously inaccessible,” Griffiths told the Independent.

“The Inner West Council should be the most progressive council in Sydney … I suspect [community feedback] will be very positive.”

If approved, the change will apply at Ashfield, Annette Kellerman and Fanny Durack Aquatic Centres and Dawn Fraser Baths. Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre has offered a discounted price for people receiving social security since 2008.

The change will not apply for entry to other facilities, such as the gym.

Inner West Councillor Marghanita da Cruz says the proposal is a welcomed change that will encourage more people to get active.

“Cost shouldn’t be a deterrent, if someone is on [government] support giving them access to do things is a good thing,” da Cruz told the Independent.

“All of this stuff [is about] keeping people active, because the cost of providing the pool is nothing compared to providing medical care.”

The change isn’t expected to lead to a loss in revenue but instead encourage people to access facilities that previously wouldn’t be available.

“I think it will largely be people who currently aren’t using the pool, who will be affected by it … there [are] many times where some of our aquatic centres have more room for capacity,” Griffiths said.

A Campaign Rewarded

Councillor Tom Kiat raised the idea of cheaper pool entry for social security recipients in early April, but the proposal gained little traction.

In response, Griffiths started the Raise the Rate for Good campaign, aiming to see Council adopt $1 pool entry for those receiving support.

Griffiths launched a petition and gained support from The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU). This was presented to Council in May but was rejected.

After being raised repeatedly, Council endorsed the proposal by Kiat on June 29.

“I think the ongoing pressure, the petition and the support from organisations such as ACOSS and AUWU really pressured Council to accept the change,” Griffiths said.

Community feedback is being considered before Council makes a final decision. September 2nd is the last day to provide feedback.

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