Water Safe: Labor's plan to help our kids swim and survive

15 May 2016

A Shorten Labor Government will ensure every Australian child has the opportunity to develop safe water skills with the establishment of a new national water safety program, Water Safe.

Many Australians live by the water. The surf, rivers and the backyard pool are part of our nation’s identity. But our love of water brings risks that can be fatal. 

Labor will invest $40.9 million to give our children the skills they need to confidently navigate water safety.

Currently, Australia has no national approach to swimming or water safety education. The water safety education Australian children receive depends on where they live and in some cases, on their parents’ income level.

Not every Australian child is receiving the necessary instruction in swimming and water safety.

In some States and Territories there is no school-delivered swimming and water safety program, while in others, swimming is an essential part of the school curriculum. 

Studies have consistently shown a concerning trend in children starting secondary school without the ability to swim. One study found that three out of five children left primary school without basic swimming ability.

Research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are also less likely to achieve identified benchmarks for water safety competence compared to non-Indigenous students.  This is also the case for children not born in Australia.

Water Safe will help ensure Aussie kids know how to have fun and stay safe around the water. 

Labor’s $40.9 million investment will support the States and Territories to work with Government, Catholic and Independent schools, local swim schools and lifesaving clubs to ensure every student has access to a swimming and water safety program. 

Labor understands that the States and Territories will make different arrangements for the delivery of swimming lessons, and we will ensure the funding arrangements are flexible enough to accommodate these differences.

Every child has the right to learn to swim and be safe around water. 

Labor will make this right a reality by ensuring every child has access to water safety and swimming education by the time they complete primary school.

For more information about Labor’s plan for water safety, please visit: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/water_safe_fact_sheet