National symposium synchronises swimming and water safety

11 May 2018

The 2nd National Swimming and Water Safety Education Symposium, held in Sydney this week, brought together Government, Industry, Private Sector and Academia representatives to present new research, review achievements and facilitate workshops. It's aim was to further develop a set of statements and complementary actions aimed at building a national approach to increasing swimming and water safety education for all Australian children.

Since last year’s symposium, much work has been done to address the issues surrounding swimming and water safety education including: Formation of the National Swimming and Water Safety Education Reference Group, redevelopment of the National Swimming and Water Safety Framework and a range of commitments by Governments to education and vacation programs.

Royal Life Saving WA Senior Manager Swimming and Water Safety Education, Trent Hotchkin, attended this year's symposium and was able to catch up with fellow WA swimming and water safety advocates Leonie McKenzie and Phyllis Elliott from the Department of Education WA and Sam Shields from Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

 WA's Education Department has led the nation in providing government supported swimming education for school children, while the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries actively supports many Royal Life Saving programs that ensure children from all social and cultural backgrounds have an opportunity to learn vital swimming and water safety skills.

Royal Life Saving WA CEO, Peter Leaversuch is proud of the work being done in WA to ensure no-one misses out on learning to Swim and Survive, remarking "Vacswim and Interim Swimming Lessons are such iconic programs here in WA. The long-term impact they have had on reducing child drowning is something we are all very proud of. We’re proud to partner with the WA Department of Education to provide these programs for West Australian children."

Justin Scarr, National Royal Life Saving Society CEO, said of the symposium "It is vital we continue this momentum, collaborate, discuss and investigate solutions to provide opportunities for all to learn essential swimming and water safety skills and knowledge, regardless of their cultural background, location or socio-economic status."

Royal Life Saving is focused on reducing drowning and promoting healthy, active and skilled communities through innovative, reliable, evidence-based advocacy; strong and effective partnerships; quality programs, products and services; underpinned by a cohesive and sustainable national organisation.

All symposium attendees look forward to implementing the initiatives raised and addressing the achievements at next year’s symposium.