Towards a nation free from drowning
Since 1998, the Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) has produced National Water Safety Plans and Strategies to guide the activities of the Australian water safety community and work towards a reduction of drowning deaths.
The new Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030 was launched by the Hon Mark Coulton, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government on behalf of Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Minister for Sport in conjunction with the Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) at Parliament House, Canberra on Thursday 25 March 2021.
The Australian Water Safety Strategy (AWSS) plays an essential role in National, State and Territory, and community approaches to preventing drowning and promoting safe use of the nation’s waterways and swimming pools. It outlines priority areas where Australia’s peak water safety bodies Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving, and AWSC Members can work together to prevent drowning on beaches, at rivers and lakes, and in swimming pools across Australia.
In launching the Australian Water Safety Strategy, Justin Scarr, Convenor of the Australian Water Safety Council says, “The previous Australian Water Safety Strategy proved effective with the fatal drowning rate reducing by 26% over the last ten years and drowning in children aged 0-4 years reducing by 50%, however drowning remains unacceptably high, impacting more than 280 families each year”.
Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck says there was more work to be done to ensure all Australians are safe in the water. “I applaud the Australian Water Safety Council for its commitment to reducing drowning by 50 per cent by 2030,” Minister Colbeck says. “Every drowning prevented or avoided is another family which doesn’t have to face the heartbreak of losing a loved one.”
This new Australian Water Safety Strategy seeks to raise awareness about non-fatal drowning incidents, encourage communities to create local water safety plans and promote access to swimming and water safety skills for all Australians, including refugees, migrants and those living in regional areas.