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4 July 2022

NAIDOC Week 2022 marks collaborative steps towards reducing drownings in Indigenous communities

Drowning Prevention
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This NAIDOC week 2022, Royal Life Saving NSW-ACT-TAS is making steps towards Standing Up and Showing Up for our Indigenous communities with ongoing development across aquatic employment, career pathways and vital water safety education.

With a dedicated budget for the new financial year (22/23), we are aiming to increase water safety programs and education participation by dedicating resources under our new Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.

In the most recent 10 year analysis of drowning deaths (2008-2018), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in drowning data, accounting for 5.5% of total drowning deaths in Australia, despite only making up 3.3% of the Australian population. (pg 14)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to drown at inland waterway locations and less likely to drown at coastal locations than non-Aboriginal people. (Pg 9)

Swimming and water safety programs such as SwimVAC, aim to decrease this risk with help and support from partners and industry. The program will run again in early 2023, with the aim of onboarding a record number of regional and remote aquatic facilities and encouraging high Indigenous participation rates.

In the ACT, Ngadyung is Canberra’s only dedicated Aquatic Recreation Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and provides free access to the Royal Life Saving Swim and Survive program for children who are otherwise at risk of missing out on formal water safety and survival education. Over 500 children have participated in the program since 2007.

With ongoing supportive relationships with key groups, such as the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE), Office of Sport and Department of Education - Training Services NSW, we aim to assist thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people through our vocational programs, and into stable Aquatic Industry career pathways.

Recent Lifeguards graduates from NCIE

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are a priority population group for swimming and water safety as indicated by the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030. It is a key priority for Royal Life Saving to improve collaboration, provide opportunities, continue water safety education, and learn from communities about waterways,” said Michael Ilinsky, CEO of Royal Life Saving NSW-ACT-TAS.

We will keep the community and industry updated on our Reconciliation Journey over the coming months! We encourage everyone to participate in local events and showcase your support of NAIDOC week with their online hub of resources here..

Check out suggested NAIDOC events happening near you!


  • Narang Bir-rong Aboriginal Corporation Charity Ball | Rooty Hill - 16 July | Book now

  • Dharawal Guided Indigenous Walk – Women's Walk to Minerva Pool - Campbelltown Council | 9 July | Register

  • Majeda Beatty at Castle Hill Library | FREE – 8 July | Learn more

  • Nunyara Aboriginal Health Unit - Central Coast NAIDOC Community Day | FREE – 5 July | Learn more

  • 3Bridges and Georges River Council NAIDOC Week Youth and Family Day | FREE – 6 July | Learn more

  • NAIDOC in Centennial Park | FREE – 8 July | Learn more


  • ACT Community Sector - Woden Town Square and Woden Library | FREE – 5 July | Find out more

  • Young Carers ACT - NAIDOC Celebration | Free for young carers aged 10 – 17 | Holt 8 July | Register now


  • Community Art Workshop - Kingborough Community Hub | FREE - 6 July | Find out more


Be sure to check event updates on the NAIDOC events webpage.

Download and share NAIDOC 2022 Resources here.

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