Parents' viewing fees at swimming pools... it costs HOW much?

I have a query regarding the practice of charging ‘viewing’ fees for parents who drop their children off for swimming lessons in council-funded swimming centres.

My local pool in south-eastern Melbourne has a ‘flexible’ parent fee scheme, meaning that it can be as cheap as $3.50, or as high as $5.00 to move through the turnstiles to watch our children swim. Considering the centre charges more than $10 for a half-hour swimming lesson, in a pool I helped fund with my rates I find this exorbitant.

Is this a long-standing idea for councils to charge extra for parents’ attendance? Join this conversation to encourage CHOICE to explore the legality and range of costs that public swimming pools charge for your children to enjoy and learn safe swimming skills.


I’ve been taking my daughter to swimming lessons for almost 3 years. Over that period, we’ve been to two different pools in the north east of Melbourne.
I never have to pay to watch her, in fact as she is only 7 I have to stay close by to keep an eye on her at all times, as it is a necessary safety requirement.
We pay just over $13 for a half hour lesson, but it is about to go up another dollar or so.
As well as the lesson, she is free to use the pool at any time that the complex is open and I can accompany her at no extra charge.

I’d go to another pool. I’ve been swimming for years myself, my kids and now g/kids…never been charged once.

Lucky, very lucky. Over in the south east of Melbourne, we have 7 pools within a 30-minutes drive, which all charge parent viewing fees. Each of these pools are council-built and privately run. Interestingly, when you sign-up for child swimming classes you MUST attend poolside, even though the children are in small groups and usually very close to the pool edge. So, if you want your child to swim, you also have to pay to watch. My son’s Term 1 swimming lessons cost $150 and i paid over $50 to watch him in his half-hour sessions. My question to CHOICE was whether this is an extortionate measure by councils charging rate payers for a service we have already paid for in our rates!

Hi @gsmithpill,

Thanks for highlighting this issue, I’ve passed it on to our investigations team for further review.

If anyone else can offer some information about the costs of their local pool, please post post the info here!


1 Like

“council built privately run”. This could be another example of socialising the costs and privatising the profits. Councils probably made a deal whereby the private operators can do pretty much what they want regarding charges, albeit with some maximums specified and annual CPI or a percentage adjustment, whichever is more. That aspect should be checked into.