Country pools will benefit from Royalties for Regions funding to help with maintenance and upgrades thanks to a new election commitment made by The Nationals WA today.
Leader Mia Davies said the $15 million Community Pools Revitalisation Program would roll out over five years and provide grants up to $35,000 for Local Government to assist with the cost of running pools, aquatic centres and water parks.
“Our pools and aquatic centres are hubs of our regional communities, whether it’s for our kids learning to swim, sporting clubs, injury rehab or purely social,” Ms Davies said.
“They are costly to run and maintain so our commitment helps keep facilities up to date and reduces the financial pressure on Local Government and ratepayers who foot the bill.”
A total of $3 million will be made available annually over five years, allowing up to 85 grants each year for almost 100 pools and water parks in regional WA.
Successful applicants will be given the option of receiving grants immediately or banking them to go towards a more significant capital project in the future.
Ms Davies said grants could be used for a range of things including general maintenance, constructing shaded areas, upgrading amenities, purchasing new equipment such as lane ropes, diving blocks or lifesaving equipment, upskilling staff and developing new programs for patrons.
“Safer, better maintained and equipped pools for locals and visitors will encourage participation and reduce the impost of long-term closures when maintenance is deferred due to the associated cost,” she said.
“Engaging in water activities has proven health and social outcomes so we want to maximise participation and access for everyone in regional WA.”
Regional pools are an important economic contributor to regional WA economies and in 2020 employed about 1350 people, a number that is expected to go up as people return to swimming and water activities post COVID-19.
The Nationals WA have also committed $5 million of Royalties for Regions over five years to make VacSwim for regional participants free.
“Under the Labor Government VacSwim fees have gone up more than 120 per cent and last summer they tried to take away lessons in 11 regional communities,” Ms Davies said.
“In contrast, our $20 million of Royalties for Regions commitments will double VacSwim participation, create more instructor jobs, improve water safety and ensure our aquatic facilities are sparkling for pool users.”