Sydney (Press Release): Refugees and migrants from across Sydney will benefit from free swimming lessons thanks to new NSW Government funding, Member for Seven Hills Mark Taylor MP said.
The Royal Life Saving Society will receive $90,000 from the Government’s Water Safety Fund Community Grants Program to improve water safety in the community, and help prevent drownings.
“Tragically 36 people drowned in NSW waterways last summer, and that’s why the NSW Government is looking at new ways to keep people safe,” Mr Taylor said.
“The Royal Life Saving Society do a tremendous job in promoting water safety across the State, and I’m confident this new program will equip participants with life-long and life-saving skills.
“Some of the people in these communities have also had very traumatic experiences in and around waterways so this is a safe and supportive way for them to meet new people, connect with Royal, and give them a new sense of confidence around the water.”
Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant, who administers the Water Safety Fund alongside the Office of Emergency Management, said community involvement and education is vital to help reduce the number of people losing their lives in NSW waterways.
“No one wants to see another life lost around our waterways this summer so I encourage people to get involved with programs like this one, and make sure you look out for your mates, always assess the conditions, and don’t drink alcohol or take drugs before swimming,” Mr Grant said.
Royal Life Saving Society CEO Michael Ilinsky said multicultural communities sadly remain over represented when it comes to fatal drownings.
“Over the last decade 280 people have drowned in NSW who were born overseas, which is a terrible statistic and one we’re targeting with learn to swim programs like this,” Mr Ilinsky said.
The Royal Life Saving Society will collaborate with a number of local groups across refugee and migrant networks to increase participation in the program and will target a number of areas across Western Sydney, including Seven Hills.
The funding will help about 250 adults to complete ten swimming lessons each, while also providing professional development for instructors to support their work with migrant communities.
The Water Safety Fund Community Grants Program prioritises initiatives that target high-risk groups and locations, identified in research undertaken by Royal Life Saving Society Australia.
For more information on the grant application process or the NSW Be Water Safe. Not Sorry water safety campaign, visit: www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au.