NSW families with children aged 3 to 6 years will have access to a brand new $44 million swimming and water safety voucher initiative as part of the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to water safety and active participation.
“We fully support the NSW Government in the roll out of this new Swimming and Water Safety voucher program. Our research shows us that across the state, only 35% of the 3-6 year age group are currently attending learn to swim lessons. Affordability has been a real barrier for a lot of families. Royal Life Saving will continue working with Government and industry to ensure that no child misses out on such vital life skills as swimming and water safety.” Michael Ilinsky, CEO of Royal Life Saving NSW said.
After working closely with the NSW Government over the past 12 months on a range of water safety initiatives, Royal Life Saving NSW welcomed the announcement today from NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, and NSW Minister for Sport, Natalie Ward.
"Importantly, every parent should enjoy the peace of mind their child will be safe in and around the water, with the new voucher program helping to achieve this.
“Ultimately this is the type of support that will not only save people money, it could help save lives” – NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet.
“Families across NSW will be able to use these vouchers when they enrol their children in swimming lessons, helping to ensure every NSW child has access to quality swimming and water safety education before they start school.” – NSW Minister for Sport, Natalie Ward.
Royal Life Saving NSW General Manager of Drowning Prevention and Education, Craig Roberts, said the voucher program is an imperative step towards achieving the benchmarks set within National Swimming and Water Safety Framework.
“The National Swimming and Water Safety Framework identifies key milestones for Australian children at ages 6, 12 and 17 years,” Mr Roberts said.
“At 6 years of age, every child should be able to exit and enter the water unassisted, float and recover to stand, and perform a specified survival sequence. Without the opportunity to participate and practice these skills, the benchmarks within the framework cannot be realised, making the NSW Government’s water safety lesson voucher program an integral step to reducing drownings across the state.”
Mr Ilinsky added that the expected increase in participation would also benefit local pools and swim schools with a boost for local jobs.
“The aquatic recreation industry has suffered over the past couple of years with interruptions to business from bushfires and the global Covid-19 pandemic. The participation stimulus generated from the new swimming and water safety voucher program will mean more qualified Swim Teachers for our swim schools, and more professional Pool Lifeguards for our swimming pools. Royal Life Saving will continue to support industry with the provision of quality, innovative training solutions across the sector, with new professional development and specialisation courses in the pipeline.” Mr Ilinsky said.
NSW families can hope to hear more about the rollout of the new swimming and water safety voucher program in coming weeks, with access to vouchers expected in early 2022.
*Read NSW Government Media Release here: https://www.sport.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/kids-dive-into-learn-to-swim-voucher-program