Otium Planning Group recently conducted a nationwide survey of Local Government Authorities to gain an understanding of the contract management arrangements for aquatic and leisure facilities. Eighty-one surveys from 537 Local Government Authorities (15%), were received across all States.

What did we find?

There were 173 aquatic and leisure facilities recorded. 163 facilities were owned by Council; one privately owned facility and nine facilities owned by State Government e.g. Crown land.

Of the 169 responses received, the majority of facilities were managed under an in-house Council arrangement (76 facilities) followed by a contract management arrangement (59 facilities) and lease management arrangements (20 facilities). The following chart shows the breakdown of management arrangements.

There were 81 responses in relation to the tenure of management arrangements. The responses indicated there are a variety of arrangements in place across contracted and leased facilities. These include: short term contract or lease arrangements (47 facilities), long term leases of more than 10 years (7 facilities), contract management arrangements with options e.g. 5 + 5 + 5 years (15 facilities), and ongoing management arrangements (10 facilities). The following chart shows the summary of arrangements.

There were 67 responses received indicating Council’s plans for new or major redevelopment projects. Over 50% (36) identified that they have completed feasibility studies for new or major redevelopments to aquatic facilities. Of these, 29 have funds allocated in a capital works budget. There were also seven responses that identified there are funds allocated for the development of a new or redeveloped facility that have not as yet undertaken a feasibility study.

These findings show that there is a mix of management arrangements in place for aquatic and leisure facilities across Australia. Most tenures are short term contracts or leases and a high proportion of Councils surveyed were involved in feasibility studies or have funds allocated in their budget for new or redeveloped facilities.

The insights from this survey will help inform our Local Government partners in determining he best approach for managing and developing aquatic and leisure facilities for their communities.