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Swimming pool & spa associations in court battle

Disagreement between associations representing Australia’s swimming pool and spa industry has resulted in court action.

At the core of the dispute is the decision by the Swimming Pool & Spa Association of NSW, one of five state-based members of the federated national body, to rebrand itself with the business name Swimming Pool & Spa Alliance.

On 17 December 2012, SPASA Victoria issued a media statement strongly objecting to the formation of the Alliance and refused to acknowledge it, calling it a fraud.

 SPASA Queensland, SPASA South Australia and SPASA Western Australia supported the Victorians and strongly urged SPASA NSW to abandon the “national alliance” concept, and return to the negotiating table of SPASA Australia Ltd, the legal national body established in 2011.

“SPASA Victoria will not join the Swimming Pool & Spa Alliance of Australia. Only one national body exists, it is called SPASA Australia Ltd. All five State SPASA associations are equal members, and have appointed directors equally to this entity. SPASA NSW cannot call itself “national” unless it is truly representative of all,” said Victorian CEO Brendan Watkins.

NSW denied the allegations and the four state bodies (VIC, QLD, SA and WA) decided it was necessary to seek assistance from the courts.

The court injunction requested that the Alliance make clear that they are a separate entity to the national association on all printed and electronic media. It also called for the Alliance to cease using the name “SPASA Australia” and change its website domain name and email addresses and to cease referring to themselves as the national body.

Following court proceedings in February 2013, the injunction against SPASA NSW was dismissed on the basis that SPASA NSW undertook that the Swimming Pool and Spa Alliance was a distinct and separate entity from the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia and the other state associations, and that they were compelled to cease using the name “SPASA Australia” and promoting themselves as a peak national body.

“We are pleased with the outcome which allows us to now continue with our core focuses, including representing the many and varied interests of the entire swimming pool and spa industry – Nationwide,” said Swimming Pool and Spa Alliance CEO Spiros Dassakis.

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