The Morrison Government is investing in swimming and water safety education, encouraging more teachers into the pool to strengthen skills and save lives.
The national organisation for teaching swimming and water safety, AUSTSWIM, will receive $250,000 for its “Creating Jobs, Saving Lives” project which aims to address a shortage in swim and water safety teachers.
The project will focus on re-engaging with swimming teachers who have left the industry and support them to return to the water.
AUSTSWIM will share in $10.3 million spent on 36 new programs under Sport Australia’s Participation Grant program - providing more opportunities for Australians to connect with sport and get physically active.
Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said the Morrison Government was proud to partner with AUSTSWIM.
“It’s estimated that COVID-19 lockdowns across Australia have resulted in more than 12 million missed swimming lessons over the past 18 months,” Minister Colbeck said.
“With restrictions easing, we want to ensure that the 162,500 children that have missed out on swimming and water safety lessons every week have the opportunity to get back in the water in a fun and safe environment.”
Federal Member for Lindsay, Melissa McIntosh, has been advocating for an intensive back to swimming program for kids across our country who have missed out on swim and survive programs and swimming lessons over the last two years due to lockdowns.
“It is extremely concerning that an estimated 250,000 swimming lessons have been missed each week as a result of the recent lockdowns in New South Wales. These are lessons that equip children with the lifelong skills they need to be safe in the water.”
“My swim school petition received thousands of signatures and I know many local schools such as Nepean Aquatic Centre and families across Western Sydney backed this important, local campaign.”
“I have strongly advocated for the Commonwealth Government to provide financial assistance to ensure our kids can access affordable swimming classes over the next two years and I will continue to fight for more support for our swim schools.”
“Having the ability to swim is an important life skill for every Australian and this grant will not only help increase participation in sport and physical activity across Lindsay but also provide employment opportunities for active licenced swimming teachers.” Said Ms McIntosh.
AUSTSWIM CEO Simon Weatherill said the initiative aims to bring the number of swim teachers back to pre-COVID levels.
“While demand for swimming and water safety lessons has recovered quickly, the training and accreditation of teachers has not kept pace, leading to a shortage in swimming and water safety teachers.”
Mr Weatherill said that funding received for the “Creating Jobs, Saving Lives” project will support 900 swim teachers by covering the costs associated with getting and maintaining their qualifications. The project will also connect teachers with local swim centres.
“Our focus is on retraining as many of these teachers as possible and getting them back in pools across Australia and delivering swim lessons. This will increase participation in swimming for Australians of all ages which will help reduce the number of preventable drownings and water related injuries.”
Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton said the Participation Grant program will help more Australians enjoy the social, personal and health benefits of being physically active.
“Through this grant program, we will support tens of thousands of Australians to get active and build a healthier and happier nation through sport.”
The Australian Government - through Sport Australia’s Participation Grant program – has invested $28.3 million over four years to support 98 sport and physical activity programs across Australia to provide more opportunities for Australians to connect or return to sport and physical activity.