RLS Statement on The Voice

The Royal Life Saving Society – Australia acknowledges the significance of the upcoming referendum to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

We recognise the importance of ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are actively involved in matters and policies affecting them.

We celebrate the resilience, survival, wisdom, and deep connection to water and land that continues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and communities today.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan captures our commitment to reconciliation, to listening and to fostering meaningful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

There is much we can learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples custodianship of land and water. We are inspired by their:

  1. Deep connection with water - the rivers, lakes, pools, billabongs, beaches, and dams that have brought life to communities for thousands of years.
  2. Stories about coastal and freshwater nations and how lifesaving skills, have been passed down for generations, and helped to keep communities safe in everyday life, and seasons of floods and cyclones.
  3. Shared commitment to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have access to swimming pools and to swimming lessons, and youth lifesaving skills.
  4. Need for increased access and inclusive use of the local pool as a venue for social cohesion, connection and for health benefits that extend beyond childhood to all life stages.
  5. Recognition that youth-based swimming and lifesaving skills can help develop community leadership skills relevant to other jobs and elements of life.
  6. Eagerness to gain access to jobs in aquatics, whether as lifeguards, instructors or as pool managers,

We have committed to actively engage and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to design, participate in, and lead water safety programs for safety, fun, health and employment.

We know that respect and reconciliation is crucial to better health, social and educational outcomes, and includes water safety and drowning prevention.

As an organisation we don’t get a vote, so we simply encourage you to ensure that your vote counts.

We urge you to seek out information to inform your choice.

Listen carefully to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

Seek out information from reputable sources.

For more information, please see the following references:

Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum (Australian Electoral Commission website)

What is The Voice (Australian government website) 

What is the Uluru Statement from the Heart