Today's communique revolves around answering key FAQs and information gathered by ESSA over the course of 25.3.2020



Hydrotherapy Pools
You can continue to provide rehabilitation services in dedicated private hydrotherapy pools not open to public.

Private Swimming Pools
You cannot offer services in private swimming pools.

Co-Located Consulting Rooms in Gyms
Gyms were ordered to close at midday on Monday 23 March. Please follow the public health orders and do not attempt to access your consulting room if it is co-located in a gym.

Car Parks/Outdoor Space around Gyms
You cannot run classes in gym car parks as ESSA was previously advised. However, you can run classes in public open spaces provided they are not subject to public health orders and you have the required council licenses and appropriate insurance. 

Outdoor Participant Numbers
Please click here for latest recommendation.

Equipment integrated into a clinic
There is no clear guidance on this. Your clinic should contain essential exercise equipment to deliver your clinical treatments. Your clinic can only offer services to individuals with clinical treatment needs on an appointment basis and is not available to the general public for training. Be sure to disinfect all equipment before and after your consultations, as part of ongoing hygiene.

AES working in EP practices
Following on from yesterday’s advice, Accredited Exercise Scientists (AES) cannot provides services on their own in EP practices unless they are registered as personal trainers with the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Note, AES cannot deliver services as personal trainers in gyms as these have been ordered to close.    

AES working under the NDIS as therapy assistants must work under the delegation and supervision of AEPs or other allied health professionals (more information follows below).

Compensable work for Accredited Exercise Scientists (AES)

Allied Health Assistants
Allied Health Assistants (AHA) support the work of allied health professionals in various clinical and non-clinical tasks. This helps allied health professionals focus on their own work and allows for more care to be delivered to patients.

AHAs work across many disciplines including exercise physiology, dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, social work and speech pathology. They may work in hospital settings in acute care, rehabilitation, aged care, mental health and in community care. An AHA works under the supervision and delegation of an allied health professional to assist with therapeutic and program related activities. The level and form of supervision that the allied health professional provides is dependent on the experience, skills and qualifications of the assistant and the service context.

An AES can be employed as an AHA to deliver exercise programs which have been prescribed by an AEP or other allied health professional such as a physiotherapist. Working as an AHA can be income generating for AESs, for example via the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Allied Health Assistants and the NDIS
Within the NDIS, AHA roles are labelled Therapy Assistants (TAs). Two support levels of TAs are included in the NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue 2019–20 as outlined below:

1. Therapy Assistant (level 1): Allied health assistant working under the delegation of and direct supervision at all times of a therapist. The allied health assistant must be covered by the professional indemnity insurance of the supervising therapist (or the therapist’s employing provider).

2. Therapy Assistant (level 2): Allied health assistant working under the delegation and supervision of a therapist, where the therapist is satisfied that the allied health assistant is able to work independently without direct supervision at all times. The allied health assistant must be covered by the professional indemnity insurance of the supervising therapist (or the therapists’ employing provider).

Employer requirements

- Registration
The provider employing the TA will need to ensure the assistant meets requirement relating to the NDIS Practice Standards and deem them competent to complete the work they have been employed to do, this would be considered a business decision and the employing provider will be held responsible for decisions made on the matter.

Under the NDIS the allied health professional will need to be registered to deliver supports under the Therapeutic Supports registration group to engage a TA.

Providers can also apply billing arrangements for therapy assistants such as travel, cancellations and non-face-to-face time. Please refer to the NDIS Price Guide 2020-21 for guidance on Non-Face-to-Face supports and billing.

- Clinical Supervision Guidelines 
1. AHA positions are to be clinically supervised by an allied health professional. 

2. AHA positions will have a designated clinical supervisor. 

3. Formal supervision sessions will be documented in accordance with local requirements. 

4. Clinical supervision may be direct, indirect and/or remote.

GST notes for AHAs
AHA supports delivered under the NDIS may be subject to GST depending on the qualifications of the supervising professional.  For more information visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

NDIS and Telehealth services
AHAs are usually engaged in telehealth to support people living in rural and remote locations to access Allied Health professionals located in a metropolitan or large regional centre. The allied health professional may use telehealth to supervise an allied health assistant who is locally based to the health consumer and can provide face to face assistants.

Some compensable schemes, such as the NIDS considered telehealth as a business modality that can be used where appropriate and with the agreement from the participant. With the agreement of the participant and appropriate supervision of treating allied health professional, an AHA/TA would be able to provide NDIS supports via telehealth.

NDIS and Personal Training
AES are also eligible to register under the Exercise Physiology & Personal Well-being Activities registration group as a personal trainer. The NDIS Practice Standards: Verification Module - Required Documentation outlines that the required qualifications for Personal trainers include Personal training qualification, Certificate III, IV or Diploma in Fitness or equivalent. Further information on this can be found on the ESSA Member’s page Understanding the NDIS.

For an overview of all the NDIS support purposes, categories and line items that NDIS registered providers can claim for please see the Price Guide 2019-20 and Support Catalogue 2019-20. Please refer to the Support Catalogue for price limits pertaining to PTs and TAs.

Carer Respite
There are a number of funding programs which allow carers to access support to attend social activities or programs which help with their own health and wellbeing. Exercise sessions run by AES are eligible for these funds where the argument can be made that the program contributes to the health and wellness of the carer.

If you have a client who cares for someone, they can find out more from the following organisations: NDIS, My Aged Care, Carers Australia, Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres and Live Better (QLD and NSW only).


What Constitutes a Gym and What you can be Fined


Leisure and recreation businesses, premises or places exclusions as of 24 March 2020

·       Community and recreation centres (Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services).

·       Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres.

·       Boot camps, personal training operating outside and inside (For outside events, limited to groups of no more than 10 people and social distancing must be exercised.)

·       Social sporting-based activities.

·       Swimming pools.

Whilst outdoor personal training for small groups of up to 10 people is allowed by the Australian and state Governments, ESSA along with the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) and Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) has released a statement asking its members to adhere to the following guidelines:

·       Conduct strenuous outdoor exercise classes with no more than 2 others and keeping at least 4 metres apart.

·       For less strenuous activity such as Thai Chi, still run your classes with no more than 2 others, but keep a distance of 2 metres.

Australian Capital Territory

Definition of a gym: Refers to “Indoor sporting venues, gyms and pools were required to close from midday 23 March 2020.”
Public Health Orders
Look here for the latest public health orders
Fines:  Information not available.
ACT Government pools, including any co-located fitness facilities, are closed.

New South Wales

Definition of a gym:
Places Order: Recreation facility (indoor) means a building or place used predominantly for indoor recreation, whether or not operated for the purposes of gain, including a squash court, indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, table tennis centre, health studio, bowling alley, ice rink or any other building or place of a like character used for indoor recreation.
Public Health Orders
Look here for the latest NSW public health orders (scroll down the page)
Fines: Failure to close gyms and health studios under Section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 creates an offence if an individual fails to comply with a direction with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 6 months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues. Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.


Northern Territory

Definition of a gym: No definitions, only mentions gyms and indoor sporting venues.
Public Health Information:
Fines: Penalties of up to $62,800



Definition of a gym: No details in the public health order
Public Health Orders:
Look here for the latest public health orders
Fines: The penalty unit value in Queensland is $133.45 and Maximum penalty—100 penalty units. $13,345


South Australia

Definition of a gym: No definitions, only mentions gyms and indoor sporting venues.
Emergency Management Directions: Look for these on the SA Police website
Fines: A maximum penalty of $20,000 per individual or $75,000 for a company



Definition of a gym: No.
S 144 Monday 23 March 2020
No definitions, only mentions
Clause 4
c. a gym;
d. an indoor sporting centre;
Public Health Orders
Look here for the latest public health orders:|recentgazettes
Fines: One penalty unit is currently $165.22. In the case of a natural person, 120 penalty units. $19,826.40. In the case of a body corporate, 600 penalty units. $99,132.
A special Victoria Police coronavirus taskforce of 500 officers will enforce the restrictions.


Definition of a gym: Special Gazette 21954 - 23 March 2020 Clause a
(ii) all gymnasiums, indoor venues used for sports or fitness, indoor play grounds and centres, and other similar premises or venues;
Public Health Orders : Look here for the latest public health orders (note they will be a special gazette)
Fines: A penalty of up to $16,800


Western Australia

Definition of a gym: Gym or indoor sporting centre.
Emergency Declaration: Look here for the latest emergency declarations.
Fines: Up to $50,000 for individuals and up to $250,000 for bodies corporate.