National Aquatic Industry Safety Awards
Excellence in Risk Management
Hawthorn Aquatic & Leisure Centre
Nominated By:
Contact Details
1 Grace Street

The Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre (HALC) is an important community facility that forms part of the Boroondara Leisure and Aquatic Facilities (BLAF) managed by YMCA Victoria in partnership with the City of Boroondara. A redevelopment was completed in April 2014, bringing a state-of-the-art facility to the local Boroondara community. HALC now features a 50m heated outdoor pool (open year round), a 20m indoor warm water pool, 2 large group fitness rooms, 1 cycle studio, crèche, café and a 780 square metre health club.


The public swimming pool has been part of the Hawthorn community since 1910. Following the 2014 redevelopment, HALC has become a community hub for local residents. Offering over 120 group fitness classes per week, multiple swimming squads, daily childcare and café services the Centre provides opportunities for visitors to stay active and engage with other members of the community.

HALC also hosts school swimming lessons for several local primary schools together with high school swimming squads facilitating their development of a lifelong skill.

Future Plans

HALC continues to develop a strong partnership with Swinburne University and this year will be launching a Swim, Surf, and Sail program for international students. This program will allow students to participate in a 10-week swimming lesson program, before using their new skills to enjoy surf and sail day trips.

HALC has recently been awarded a grant from RLSSA which will be used to run a swimming lesson program for patrons from Blind Sports Victoria.

HALC will also be introducing SwimDesk in our swim school. This program will provide all parents with up to date feedback on their child’s progress including information on what they have achieved as well as what they are working towards.

What it means

HALC takes a great deal of pride in Aquatic Supervision and it is an area that the Centre has focused greatly on over the last 12 months. Staff at the Centre would be extremely honoured to be recognised for their hard work and diligence.

Criteria 1

Describe how the nominee has provided a contribution to their community / industry / facility in Risk Management

In 2017 HALC was awarded Excellence in Aquatic Safety by an Aquatic Facility – Large by RLSSA and has since continued to develop new ideas and education pieces for the City of Boroondara. Using our facility as a social hub, we have created an opportunity for our staff to engage in conversation with our patrons. Building that communication bridge between staff and patrons has allowed our facility users to confidently and proactively submit feedback, suggestions and queries on items including potential risks.

Criteria 2

Describe (and provide evidence) of improvements and/or achievements made in Managing Risk/s over the past 12-18 months

Our Emergency Response Training (ERT) has had the biggest impact on maintaining our level of supervision. Converting from a paper-based scenario system in 2017, it has since moved to an online system which has seen our completed ERT numbers grow from an average of 1 a month to 22.
With our scenarios continually changing and with the use of a ‘red ball drop’ and a thorough review process, our staff are not only more alert but have more confidence in their knowledge to deal with any incident that may occur.

Criteria 3

Describe how the nominee has shown commitment to aquatic safety through Risk Management

With the centre’s OH&S and team meetings held quarterly and as an agenda item for weekly management meetings, we have been able to involve staff, patrons and contractors in developing a proactive approach to health and safety. Starting with a thorough induction and training process we have been able to create and maintain all staff and contractors qualifications in an online centralised database, not only at HALC, but across all four Boroondara sites. This allows us to appropriately control those who are working on site and keep track of those who may have qualifications expiring.

Criteria 4

Describe what barriers have been encountered by the nominee in Managing Risk/s and how have they been overcome

At HALC, we have identified that due to our varying demographic of user utilising the warm water spaces, our ratios and supervision plans needed a review. With the elderly, disabled, able bodied, young, children, parents all using the same area, ratios needed to drop from 1:80 to 1:75.

Through this pro-activeness and thorough investigation and action processes, we have seen that the management of this specific risk at HALC has significantly improved since re-opening in 2014. With a total of 38 aquatic incidents logged during the 16/17 financial, 24 being located in the warm water pool area with our high risk demographic, HALC has seen aquatic incidents within the warm water pool area drop to 10, with a total of 22 aquatic incidents logged.