Member for Central Wheatbelt Hon Mia Davies MLA has recognized that Royal Life Saving Australia has identified strengthening school and holiday swimming programs and community water safety programs as an essential step in increasing water safety education for all children.
“As Vice Patron of Royal Life Saving Western Australia, I encourage all families to enrol children in VacSwim classes this Summer and to be safe around waterways, beaches and swimming pools,” Ms Davies said.
“Incidents can occur anywhere including pools, beaches, falling or being swept from rocks, in rivers and creeks, dams or even in the bathtub.”
“While drowning deaths are down 31 per cent in WA, there is still work to be done improving water safety and education.”
WA had 27 drowning deaths last year, with swimming pools again the most likely place for drownings to occur in the State. Summer months are the most dangerous, with 41 per cent of drownings occurring from December to February.
Ms Davies said participating in programs like VacSwim would help children and families develop and build vital aquatic skills and encourage safety in and around the water.
“VacSwim is Australia’s longest running swimming program, offering lessons to more than 55,000 children at more than 180 locations throughout WA, many of these in regional areas.”
Ms Davies said it was always important to be aware of hazards associated with different aquatic environments and to ensure they followed the following guidelines:
- Always supervise children when around water
- Check pool barriers are compliant and in good working order
- Learn to Swim and Survive
- Learn lifesaving skills
- Check conditions before activity
Ms Davies said she was disappointed the McGowan Labor Government has increased fees for VacSwim by more than 120 per cent and scrapped the $3 million Royalties for Regions Community Pools Revitalisation Program.
“Given Royal Life Saving Australia has identified VacSwim-style programs and the access and availability of aquatic facilities as core goals to increasing life-saving water skills, it’s appalling that Labor has diverted funds for these to underwrite their extravagant election promises.”
“I support Royal Life Saving Australia call on the State Government to continue supporting programs such as VacSwim to help prevent drownings.”
To find out more about VacSwim, including nearby programs and locations visit www.education.wa.edu.au/vacswim.