Inner West councillors supported a motion last month to reduce aquatic centre entry fees for social security recipients.
With overwhelming approval from councillors, Council will immediately adopt the proposed Social Security Recipient Concession, which will instate a $1.20 fee in all Aquatic Centres in the Inner West. The move follows the pensioner rate employed at Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre since 2008, where the price of admission is $1.20.
Councillor Tom Kiat, who moved the motion, felt that affordable entry was a matter of urgency ahead of Sydney’s reopening later this month.
“We are going see the pools open, we’ve seen some open and we’re going to see some more open very shortly, and as we do that I think we want to welcome everyone in the community,” Clr Kiat told the meeting.
“There are so many people in our community who really need a break now and we can give it to them.”
Clr Kiat first raised the concept of reduced entry fees in early April but struggled to gain traction in the community.
Pensioner rates at most Inner West Aquatic Centres have been valued at $4.70 previously, with Council receiving resounding support from the community for a lowered admission price.
Greens candidate for Council’s Ashfield Ward Dylan Griffiths joined Clr Kiat in campaigning for the price reduction and was able to garner support from The Australian Council of Social Services and the Australian Unemployed Workers Union.
“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,” Mr Griffiths told the Independent in August.
Councillor Darcy Byrne, who seconded the motion, believed the move would offer better outcomes for the entire Inner West community.
“This is an example of how the amalgamation can work and should work, that is, the best services and programs that exist in any one of three councils be exported to other areas, and this has been a very successful program over a long period of time at Leichhardt Council, it’s now being improved upon and exported to other facilities,” Clr Byrne told the meeting.
Clr Byrne successfully incorporated an amendment to the motion which requests Council officers to prepare a report “outlining the transition to aquatic and recreation services being brought in house”. The report has been asked to include a plan for establishing a new Inner West fitness pass, which would allow members access to all Inner West aquatic and fitness facilities for the cost of a single membership.
The motion was supported by all councillors present at the time of voting.