Water Safety Council seeks LG backing to help to reduce drownings

Local governments are being encouraged to make the new Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030 central to their drowning prevention policies.

The 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, particularly for those living in regional areas.

It was launched in Canberra last week by federal Local Government Minister Mark Coulton in conjunction with the Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC).

More than 280 people drown each year, with many more admitted to hospital following a non-fatal drowning incident.

AWSC Convenor Justin Scarr said: “The previous Australian Water Safety Strategy (AWSS) proved effective with the fatal drowning rate reducing by 26 percent over the past decade and drowning in children aged 0-4 years reducing by 50 percent.

“However, drowning remains unacceptably high, impacting more than 280 families each year”.

The council wants state, territory, and local governments and other organisations to help implement the AWSS 2030 as part of reaching an aspirational goal to reduce drownings by 50 percent by 2030.

Data and insights collected during the roll-out of the new strategy will be used to inform a planned mid-term revision of the strategy in 2025.