Watch the opening address now.
"Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen and on behalf of Fitness Australia, welcome to FILEX 2019 and a big thank you for your attendance and support.
Before I begin I also acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today and thank them for sharing it with us. My name is Barrie Elvish and it is my pleasure to be the Chief Executive Officer of Fitness Australia, a position I have now occupied three months.
Now I doubt if any of you here today know much about me and that’s good because I know very little about you or the specific characteristics of the Fitness industry in Australia. But I do know about exercise in terms of training for marathons, trekking Kokoda and keeping Depressive episodes under control but worst of all, being exposed to the sight of 10,000 men of various shapes and sizes in lycra at the Noosa Triathlon. To sum up I bring to this role; no baggage, no hidden agenda, no prejudices, no friends in high places and to date, no enemies at least none I’m aware of.
What I do bring however is 20 years CEO experience of successful organisational change, strategic development and business growth across a range of sectors and I would now like to take a few minutes sharing with you the new strategic direction of Fitness Australia. A direction that will bring real benefits to you as exercise professionals, gym owners and most importantly the wider Australian community.
It seems every day that we turn on the media of all forms we are confronted with an ongoing barrage of the physical and emotional ills that are impacting on Australia from childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia, heart disease, depression, anxiety, PTSD, high blood pressure, the list goes on.
Compound this list of ailments with the increase in the use of screen time by Australians of all ages, the growing populations and crush of our big cities, new housing sub-divisions and high rise apartments without accompanying open spaces, time poor two-income families, single-parent families, helicopter parenting and it’s easy to understand that - although Australia is regarded as a sporting nation that punches above its weight, - we have in reality become more a nation of seated spectators watching paid participants live out our sporting dreams and aspirations.
However, all is not doom and despair. Government at all levels is beginning to realise the benefits of encouraging people of all ages to participate more in physical activity.
The positive outcomes are not disputed; better physical, mental and emotional health outcomes, significant savings to the Budget bottom line, improved social capital and increased national wellness, and even happiness.
In summary we have in Australia an acknowledged deterioration of the overall health of Australians, matched by a realisation that increased physical activity by more people is a cost-effective and socially beneficial solution.
As a consequence, Governments is turning its attention on the need to encourage more members of the community to participate more regularly in physical activity. Indeed, Australia has joined the international campaign and is a recent signatory to the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030.
I believe this scenario represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for Fitness Australia and our members, to make a significant and long-lasting positive impact in the Australian community.
Fitness Australia has an integral, and important, role to play in this initiative at a national level through effective advocacy, underwritten by evidence-based research, a professional membership base and high-quality accessible facilities.
Our new strategic direction will see Fitness Australia as a key player in getting more Australians more physically active more often and our success will benefit you, our industry, and the Australian community.
Our practical advocacy will involve new partnerships with Government agencies such as Sport Australia and the NDIA, with the allied health sector such as Beyond Blue and the National Heart Foundation, with community groups such as Early Childhood Australia and Good Start and corporates such as Medibank and Industry sponsors.
You’ll start to see new programs and initiatives by Fitness Australia that encourage more people to be more active; connecting more families, older adults, people living with a disability, our Indigenous Australians, and the wider community generally with our industry’s workforce and facilities.
Our initial projects will focus on children aged 3 -8 in school settings, disadvantaged community groups, especially in regional areas, - and exploring new ways in which NDIS clients can engage with our members.
You’ll start to see contemporary research that supports us in reaching a broader market of potential fitness consumers and impacts the community through increased media coverage on the importance of physical activity and influences government health spending.
You’ll start to see our exercise professional members, AusReps, having new membership categories and options, a stronger voice within Fitness Australia, increased employment opportunities and more flexible and relevant CEC requirements that reflect industry and community participation and professional experience and leadership.
Business members will be encouraged by new membership categories and options, increased community awareness of and participation in member-managed facilities, specific campaigns that provide more marketing opportunities to participants and families, and enhanced growth opportunities by association with a credible independent voice.
Fitness Australia as an organisation cannot achieve these strategic priorities alone. We need Ausreps who are committed to enhancing their professional status and credibility within the community through ongoing learning and relevant industry development. We need business members who are committed to offering the highest quality facilities and employing the best available staff to offer the most accessible programs
To succeed in this ambitious new direction we acknowledge our members are critical and it is our intention to give more value to you. Ausrep membership will be available to additional health-related professions and relevant alternative exercise qualifications will receive recognised prior learning. Personal Trainers and Instructors will be able to access professional development that reflects Industry trends, is accessible and affordable, and recognises Industry experience and participation,
We will support business members by advocating for relevant tax concessions, the mandating of extra open space in housing estates, revisiting private health rebates, introducing new membership categories and negotiating new cost savings such as the just announced reduced Public Liability insurance for those businesses that have completed our quality accreditation program.
Our membership base gives Fitness Australia a respected voice at many tables but Fitness Australia will not be able to achieve our purpose of getting more Australians more active more often without the support of other people, agencies, businesses and organisations.
I started this presentation by stating I come with no baggage or preconceived agendas and want to finish by inviting all interested professionals, businesses, organisations, government agencies, all of you, to help us achieve our strategic objectives through collaborative partnerships, sharing your ideas and constructive criticism.
This is an opportunity we cannot let pass." - Barrie Elvish, CEO Fitness Australia
Feedback regarding our new direction is welcomed and can be emailed to email@example.com