National Aquatic Industry Safety Awards
Excellence in Incident Management
Milne Bay Aquatic Centre
Nominated By:
Contact Details
Cnr Victoria and Herries Street

Opened in 1958 Milne Bay has been an integral part of the community employing some 70+ staff and having over 250k visitations each year. The centre comprises outdoor 50m, indoor 25m/wave pool, waterslide, spa and warm water pool and toddlers pool. With the centre opened year round water safety through training and public education is our highest priority. Due to a number of near misses over the past few years emotionally affecting our staff changes were required in managing such incidents through better awareness and training.


Being the only public pool in Toowoomba the centre caters for a large majority of the community. Providing Learn to Swim, rec swimming, adult programs, refugee programs for water safety and general aquatic fun Milne Bay is a large part of the community. With schools reducing their swimming programs the centre has seen a decline in swimming and water safety abilities. Our local program Downs Little Lifeguards continues to educate families through dry and water based programs in rivers/creeks/dams.

Future Plans

Ongoing education and real time data capture on near misses, where they occurred in the pools and the reasons why. Strong advocate for Keep Watch with signage, wrist bands for non swimmers and under 5, regular information briefs to the community, Downs Little Lifeguards and Refugee Swim programs through Tafe and the like all add up to "Ability v Reality". The Centre is building relationships with Miami Surf Club and outsourcing our training through Garry Johnson and Royal Life to have continued improvement of staffing and the general public awareness on water safety.

What it means

Self-satisfaction for our community. reassurance that we are committed to providing a safe environment.
Reward staff for their tireless effort and commitment to the safety of our community.
Our improvements have been built on year by year with increased training from the top down. The Aquatics Team Leader, Lifeguards, Front desk staff, gym and café staff all are part of an integral team. Our success lies in discipline, team work and dedication.

Criteria 1

Describe how the nominee has provided a contribution to Incident Management or managing an incident

In Service Training 1 per month and via specialist trainers in the off season form the foundation for lifeguard awareness for the real thing.
Aquatic Facility Managers courses, ALFAQ information sessions, presentations to whole of Council HRS advantages of data collection and implementing change.
Our goal is to simulate the feelings, sights, adrenaline and pressure a rescuer experiences when an incident happens in front of them. Performing drills with distractions and multiple pieces to simulate what happens in real life. Scenario training twice yearly through evacuation training including general public participating. Coordinating with the local Fire and Rescue Service and the Health and Safety Department of TRC, scenario is practiced with as much confusion as possible. Cementing a solid relationship with EMS.

Criteria 2

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

Training sessions videoed allowing lifeguards to watch the footage of themselves to critique their own performance. Watching videos of industry lifeguard training e.g. the rescue components from Bondi Rescue.
Additional educational opportunities provided to lifeguards e.g. worksheets on pool rules, inflatables and waterslide usage, Royal Life Training manual, industry publications from other Aquatic Centres and Waterparks and articles written on the latest drowning statistics and their findingsPlacement of CPR manikin on deck and alert a lifeguard to administer CPR or ask Lifeguards to set up the O2 and BVM and commence O2 administration on a manikin. (While the second guard maintains pool coverage).
In-Service training conducted with a minimum of two hours per month for all lifeguard staff. Training topics (among others) includes:
CPR/AED skills
Emergency response, including emergency action plan (EAP) drills
First aid skillsScanning and patron surveillance
Spinal injury management
Water-rescue skills
Job Shadowing. New lifeguards shadow other lifeguards, under the supervision of an experienced staff member, for a minimum of two shifts prior to assigning the new lifeguard a shift with responsibility.
Physical Conditioning. Lifeguard staff are encouraged to follow a physical conditioning program by giving them full access free of charge to the Centre’s facilities.

Criteria 3

Describe how the nominee has shown commitment to aquatic safety in Incident Management

Change in who we employee and the characteristics we now need.
Wrist bands introduced for non swimmers and under5.
Marketing campaigns to advise public of new rules to help save lives, press releases, council involvement, RLSS involvement and lifeguard training.
New signage around the centre, frames taken down that were in line of sight.
New procedure for Lifeguarding patrol and training of Lifeguards.
New reporting procedures and debriefing of staff to enable data collection and tabling this
New reporting procedures and debriefing of staff to enable data collection and tabling this information with TRC Health and Safety committee highlighting improved incident management.
Use of counselling services EAP for individuals and teams after critical incidents and after summer season.

Criteria 4

Describe what barriers have been encountered by the nominee in Incident Management and how have they been overcome

Facility Design with indoor/outdoor bodies of water. Dead water areas indoors due to glare, shadows, disturbance and distraction all have to be overcome through movement on pool deck, understanding the cause and mitigating as best as possible.
Indoor structural poles obstructing view of water areas and ramps/slopes underwater leading into deeper areas with high walls to grab all offer risk potential that have been addressed.
Small amount of patron backlash over introduction/reinforcement of entry rules and policies.