Funding response to summer beach drownings

AFTER a summer spike in beach drownings that saw the death of 10 people on NSW beaches between December and early January, the Federal Government is offering funds to surf clubs to improve patrols.

Lifesaving clubs on the Mid North Coast will each receive a $5,000 boost from the Coalition Government to help reduce drownings and near-deaths.

The funding is part of an additional $3 million the Coalition Government is providing to lifesaving clubs and other water safety organisations around Australia.

"With 10 lifesaving clubs in the Cowper electorate, this funding is a very welcome boost," Nationals Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said.

"As many of us head to the beach at this time of year, water safety is of paramount importance."

In 2017, 291 people drowned in Australian waterways.

A large part of this funding will go to the Government's beach equipment program, to assist the approximately 310 surf lifesaving clubs around Australia.

"This will enable the clubs to buy new rescue equipment, as well as first aid and medical supplies.

Mikaela Hicks and Zara Beckett, from the Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club, on patrol at Park Beach.

04 JANUARY 2015

Photo Gemima Harvey/Coffs Coast Advocate
Mikaela Hicks and Zara Beckett, from the Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club, on patrol at Park Beach. 04 JANUARY 2015 Photo Gemima Harvey/Coffs Coast Advocate Gemima Harvey

Some clubs may use funding to invest in new technology such as drones to enable remote monitoring of unpatrolled beaches.

The five year Reduce Drownings initiative began in 2013-14.

It provided a funding boost of $15 million in total to Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), surf lifesaving clubs across Australia, the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia (RLSSA) and AUSTSWIM for their water safety programs.

The additional funding for 2018-19 will go towards the same programs. As well as the beach equipment program, it will boost:

  • SLSA's Beach Drowning Black Spot reduction program to tackle the incidence of drowning in identified high risk areas;
  • RLSSA's River Drowning Black Spot identification program and Swim and Survive lessons for children, especially Indigenous and disadvantaged children;
  • AUSTSWIM's program to provide accredited swimming and water safety teachers to targeted population groups, including remote, migrant and disadvantaged communities, and people with a disability.


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