New mandatory code of practice for Western Australia’s fitness industry

The Fair Trading (Fitness Industry Code of Practice) Regulations 2020 (WA)

Announcement by the Government of Western Australia, Dept. Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

The Fair Trading (Fitness Industry Code of Practice) Regulations 2020 (WA) is a new mandatory code of practice for Western Australia’s fitness industry. It is referred to it as “the code” in this bulletin.

The code comes into effect 1 July 2021.

More information on the new code (link)

What does the code mean to the fitness industry

The code has been updated after a review of the previous Fitness Code in WA. The review found that a code was supported by industry and consumers, but needed to reflect considerable changes in the industry. For example, there has been growth in fitness services conducted outside of traditional gym facilities such as boot camps and online only classes. There is also increasing use of electronic communications.

The key changes coming up include:

  • consistent application of the fitness code across the entire industry from bricks and mortar gyms to classes in the park;
  • greater transparency in membership agreements;
  • improving how fees must be disclosed;
  • changes to cancellation processes;
  • extending the cooling off period to seven days; and
  • addressing the impact that digital contracts and notices have had on the fitness industry.

The new code benefits both business operators and consumers in that it:

  • supports the use of electronic membership agreements and email communications;
  • clarifies the required content and layout of membership agreements;
  • provides guidance for industry and assists consumers to understand their fees and responsibilities;
  • applies to all membership agreements including those offered to clients outside of traditional fitness centres; and
  • simplifies the cancellation process by allowing for electronic notification and immediate cancellation of direct debit arrangements.

Current interim code

Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the transition period to the new code is longer than would be usual, to give businesses time to adjust and prepare for the changes. In the meantime businesses must observe the current interim code until the new code starts on 1 July 2021.