NAIC and RLSSA update positions relating to qualifications and COVID-19 guidelines

NAIC and RLSSA update positions relating to qualification extensions and COVID-19 GSPO.

NAIC updates position on re-accreditation and re-licensing extensions for key aquatic industry roles

An updated position statement on ongoing reaccreditation and licensing requirements for key aquatic industry positions has been released by the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) and the National Aquatic Industry Committee (NAIC).

The position has the effect of extending the re-accreditation and re-licensing requirements for key aquatic industry roles like lifeguards and swimming and water safety teachers. The latest amendment to the position now ensures that extensions for pool lifeguards mirror the length of the associated lockdown, for example a 12-week lockdown would equate to a 12-week extension on re-accreditation requirements.

The statement recognises that the aquatic industry has been deeply affected by COVID-19 lockdowns which mandated the closure of public and learn-to-swim aquatic facilities.

It provides certainty on rostering aquatic industry staff whose reaccreditation and/or licence renewal for key qualifications has been affected by recent lockdowns.

RJ Houston, National Manager of Aquatics for RLSSA and Chair of the NAIC, welcomed the statement.

“This nationally agreed guidance gives the aquatic industry sector confidence in managing the risks associated with disruptions to the availability of reaccreditation and license renewal processes for key service staff,” Mr Houston said.

“With several Registered Training Organisations all providing services to staff across the industry, the Committee felt it was prudent to develop a nationally-consistent approach for aquatic facility staff and management.”

Frontline employees are the most financially vulnerable to lockdowns and the committee expressed significant concern for those workers, the majority of whom are classed as casual. The intent of the position statement is to ensure aquatic industry workers can get reaccredited and/or licensed when facilities reopen.

Note: the latest provision has not been applied by the NAIC to swim teacher licensing due to the three-year nature of the license and the availability of @home CPD and CPR options.

The position statement can be viewed here:

NAIC Position Statement 10th September 2021 (Endorsed)

Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations (GSPO) Covid-19 – Consultation period extension

The NAIC is currently reviewing draft updates to the COVID-19 Guidelines.

The document is intended to provide guidance to assist aquatic facility operators determine how best to manage the risk of COVID-19 in their workplace. It provides a framework that links to more detailed advice from State and Territory Health Departments as well as Safe Work Australia and Fair Work Australia.

The document is not intended to prescribe specific approaches, but instead seeks to help businesses determine what is appropriate for their individual workplaces and circumstances and support local decision-making.

The changes build on the existing guideline, with new additions highlighted throughout the draft.

The draft inclusions provide guidance on contemporary issues on treating the risk of COVID-19 in aquatic facilities and swim schools.

Due to the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation, the Guideline is being updated and reviewed by the NAIC with an aim to publish by the end of September.

The NAIC met on 10 September to collate and review initial feedback. The NAIC agreed to:

  • Extend the consultation period until 22nd September
  • Adjust the training section (CV3) to further emphasise the need to adhere to local health rules
  • Adjust the vaccination section (CV4) to underline that the section is intended to support decision-making surrounding vaccinations for either staff or patrons
  • Make minor adjustments to the CV1 and CV2 sections, which collectively look at the risk management process of managing COVID-19 risk, to ensure the national framework compliments all state and territory local rules wherever possible

If you or your organisation would like to provide feedback, please use the provided form, and send to:

Download a copy of the draft GSPO Managing the Risk of COVID-19 in Aquatic Facilities (PDF)

Download feedback form (Excel)

Feedback closes 22 September 2021 (extended from 10 September).

NAIC and GSPO Background

RLSSA established the NAIC to lead the research, review and development of the GSPO. The GSPO is intended to be a best practice guide for managers, lifeguards, instructors and others working in the industry on the safe operation of aquatic locations.

The NAIC is a steering committee for national industry guidelines and its responsibility is to assist the creation of business operating certainty for the national aquatic industry with safety as the guiding principle.

Although guidelines and positions issued by the NAIC are published by Royal Life Saving Society - Australia, these represents the collective opinion of the aquatic industry across Australia, through a considered development and review process undertaken by the NAIC.

More information including who is on the NAIC can be found here:

Members of the NAIC

RLSSA continues its more than 127 years of work as the peak authority for drowning prevention and water safety in aquatic facilities and inland waterways.

RLSSA’s research, education and advocacy work in drowning prevention and water safety is supported by the Australian Government.