The federal Coalition government will provide an additional $3 million to life saving clubs and other water safety organisations around Australia to help reduce drowning deaths and near-deaths.
A large part of the funding will go to the government’s beach equipment program, to assist the approximately 310 surf lifesaving clubs around Australia.
This will enable the clubs to buy new rescue equipment, as well as first aid and medical supplies.
Some clubs may use it to invest in new technology, such as drones, to enable remote monitoring of unpatrolled beaches.
The five year Reduce Drownings initiative began in 2013-14. It provided a funding boost of $15 million in total to Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), surf lifesaving clubs across Australia, the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) and AUSTSWIM for their water safety programs.
The additional funding for 2018-19 announced this week will go towards the same programs. As well as the beach equipment program, it will boost:
· SLSA’s Beach Drowning Black Spot reduction program to tackle the incidence of drowning in identified high risk areas;
· RLSSA’s River Drowning Black Spot identification program and Swim and Survive lessons for children, especially Indigenous and disadvantaged children;
· AUSTSWIM’s program to provide accredited swimming and water safety teachers to targeted population groups, including remote, migrant and disadvantaged communities, and people with a disability.
The extension of Reduce Drownings will make our coastal and inland water less risky for all Australians.
This financial year, the Coalition government is also providing more than $15 million for ongoing water safety activities by SLSA, RLSSA, AUSTSWIM and Laurie Lawrence Swimming Enterprises.
These activities include awareness raising and education, policy advice, surf lifesaving activities, surf patrols, swimming lessons, and swim teachers’ training and education.