This is a contribution from the WLO Special Interest Group on Leisure Management (LM SIG).

Royal Life Saving Australia (RLSA) and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Australia have produced an analysis of the social, health and economic benefits of the aquatic industry to Australia. The total benefit was valued at $A9.1 billion which is equals $A352 per Australian. The research looked at the 2,113 publicly accessible aquatic facilities across the country, finding almost 90 percent of Australians live within a 20-minute drive of their nearest pool. Some of the headline figures include:

  • $A2.8 billion of economic activity
  • $A2.5 billion value of health benefits
  • $A3.8 billion value of social benefits.

PwC found the industry provided a social return on investment of $A4.87 for every dollar spent operating an aquatic facility in a capital city or $A2.18 in regional Australia.

RJ Houston, RLSA National Manager – Aquatics, said “Putting a dollar value on the role of the community pool is very difficult. Beyond preventing drowning deaths, the aquatic industry has been shown to boost health by reducing the burden of disease, improving mental health outcomes and reducing absenteeism. The social benefit is where the aquatic industry has traditionally been under-recognised. Bringing people together, supporting marginalised groups and supporting early learning are some of the critical ways these public pools support their local communities.”

The Australian aquatic industry employs more than 67,000 employees, with women making up almost three-quarters of the workforce.

A copy of the report and further information is available from: