My Talking Point article in today’s The Mercury discusses how Labor’s $46 million Swim Smart initiative will help children gain the skills they need to prevent them from drowning.
Too many Australians drown in our oceans, pools and waterways. Whether children learn basic swimming, water safety and survival skills should not be determined by where they live, which school they attend or whether their parents can afford swimming lessons.
Whether it is at the beach, in a pool or in rivers and dams, spending time in the water is part of the Australian way of life.
Unfortunately our love of water can be dangerous.
Having grown up near the water in Margate, my siblings and I were taught to swim from an early age, and we were acutely aware of the dangers that water can pose.
From July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, 249 people died from drowning at beaches, pools and inland waterways.
More than double that number were hospitalised for non-fatal drownings, many resulting in long-term injuries such as brain damage. There were 800 drowning incidents in Australian waterways in 2017-2018, including 551 non-fatal incidents. Among them were 56 people under 25.
A heartbreaking fact is that drowning continues to be a leading cause of death for children aged under five, 18 of whom drowned in 2017-18.
To read the full article Click Here