Multicultural Steering Committee meets to plan for future

1 August 2017

In a multicultural society like the one we have in WA it’s important to ensure all community members have an opportunity to fully enjoy our lifestyle. With our plentiful pools, rivers, lakes and oceans water recreation is an important activity for West Australians, and something we enjoy.

Unfortunately for many people coming to WA from other parts of the world swimming and water safety education is not a focus, due to these nations either being land-locked or simply not having such plentiful access to water recreation facilities. This has led to migrants being over-represented in drowning statistics, as they simply don’t have the skills and knowledge to safely take part in water activities.

Royal Life Saving Society WA has been working hard for a number of years to address this issue amongst culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities, developing partnerships with key partners to build water safety programs that cater for specific cultural needs. Our Multicultural Steering Committee brings together representatives from a variety of local government departments, multicultural community groups and aquatic centres to share ideas and strategically plan for the future to ensure culturally relevant programs are offered.

Those involved in the Committee include representatives from the Office of Multicultural Interests, City of Canning, City of Stirling, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Communicare, Edmund Rice, Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre (MMRC), Chung Wah Association, City of Kwinana, Women’s Health and Family Services and principal community partner BHP.

The Multicultural Steering Committee has enabled Royal Life Saving Society WA to establish priority actions, understand barriers to participation, develop cultural understandings, identify advocates and community group ambassadors, and develop partnerships with local aquatic centres in areas with large migrant populations.

The committee recently met at Royal Life Saving Society WA headquarters to celebrate the successes of the past 12 months and plan ahead for the future. Discussion was held on a number of key topics including:

- The distribution and promotion of the recently developed Women’s Swimwear Guide in relevant communities, helping multicultural women and also local aquatic centre lifeguards to better understand culturally appropriate dress for enjoying various types of water recreation.

- Ideas for further cultural awareness training for Royal Life Saving and aquatic centre staff presenting swimming and water safety programs, and

- A review of our Keep Watch toddler drowning prevention resources and how these can effectively be distributed to community groups

Royal Life Saving WA would like to thank our key partners for their ongoing support and guidance in program development, and for actively promoting our programs in local communities to ensure they are successful across Western Australia.

We look forward to seeing the continued development of the Access and Equity program in the coming 12 months, and hope to see this reflected in a reduction in the number of drowning deaths and incidents involving CaLD community members across our state.

Learn more about our Swim and Survive Access and Equity program at the link below.

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