The Nationals WA are encouraging families to enrol children in VacSwim classes and to be safe around waterways, beaches and swimming pools this summer. Member for Moore Shane Love MLA said Royal Life Saving Australia had called on State Government’s to continue supporting programs such as VacSwim to help prevent drownings.
“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 Australian children,” Mr Love said.
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.
“While drowning deaths are down 31 per cent in WA, there is still work to be done improving water safety and education,” Mr Love said.
“Incidents can occur anywhere including pools, beaches, falling or being swept from rocks, in rivers and creeks, dams or in the bathtub.”
Mr Love 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
Mr Love said participating in programs like VacSwim would help children and families 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,” he said.
Mr Love criticised the McGowan Government for increasing fees for VacSwim by more than 120 per cent and scrapping the $3 million Royalties for Regions Community Pools Revitalisation Program.