Remote Aboriginal communities are now benefitting ‘aquatically’ thanks to Housing’s Community Construction and Procurement and Contract Management teams who worked in partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society to develop a service agreement for the delivery of community services centred around remote swimming pools.
Kevin Harding, Community Construction Project Manager said the agreement was developed under the Delivering Community Services in Partnership (DCSP) policy which stresses the objective of delivering outcomes rather than outputs.
“Research conducted by the Telethon Institute of Child Research showed that there were benefits from regular swimming pool usage in remote communities, including improved overall health and wellbeing, specifically in relation to ear, nose and skin health,” Kevin said.
“Between 1999 and 2009, the Department constructed swimming pools in the communities of Yandeyarra, Jigalong, Burringurrah, Bidyadanga, Warmun and the town of Fitzroy Crossing as part of the Dust Abatement Program.
“Initially, a purely a commercial arrangement for the provision of swimming pool management and maintenance services was awarded to the Royal Life Saving Society Inc.
“Through the team’s effort, this has now evolved into a community service with the swimming pool in each community as the central hub.”
The Royal Life Saving Society has successfully delivered a broad range of culturally appropriate aquatic activities that promote water safety, exercise and healthy lifestyles. They have also worked very hard to develop and maintain relationships with community groups and other stakeholders.
“This was a unique opportunity for the Department and the Royal Life Saving Society to work in partnership and collaboratively develop a new service agreement under the provisions of the DCSP policy,” Joseph Kufakwandi, Senior Procurement Consultant said.
“We met with Royal Life Saving to discuss service design and incorporating lessons learnt. A key consideration was service continuity and allowing for innovation.
“At the back of everyone’s mind was the community and service outcomes which was fantastic to see.”
Greg Tate, the Society’s General Manager of Community Relations said the support of the Department of Housing in transitioning the program to a community service initiative highlights the great work the on site pool managers have done. The delivery of these programs directly benefit community members living in the selected remote communities.
The new long term agreement between the Department and RLSSWA will provide for the continued development and refinement of the programs delivered from the pools, which will ultimately lead to greater health, social and educational outcomes for community members.
the Burringurrah pool was completed in 2001
Peter Smith, Manager Community Construction, said the Program has also delivered educational benefits.
“A good example is how school attendance rates have improved via the ‘No School, No Pool’ policy, and health benefits via the ‘Swim for Fruit’ program, which involves using an incentive system to encourage local children to participate in structured swimming and lifesaving programs with fruit as an extra reward,” he said.
“Training and employment opportunities have also been created for community members. We are currently working collaboratively with Royal Life Saving to maximise training and employment opportunities linked with the swimming pool facilities.”
Zaymah Mohamed, Manager Tenders Office, said it was great to be part of a procurement that brings so much joy and laughter to the communities.
“In addition to the educational and health benefits the Program also brings the community together through these fun activities. As the saying goes ‘you learn better when you’re having fun,” she said.
The Department was commended by the Community Services Procurement Review Committee for transitioning the Program to the DCSP policy and delivering innovative, fun and educational activities to the communities.
There are plans for the Department to construct additional swimming pools in the future.