Issued: 23 February 2017
Increasing water safety awareness among refugee communities will be part of a strategy to reduce the number of drownings in NSW, Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant announced today.
Mr Grant said the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) will receive $130,000 to fund a water safety program.
The program will provide water safety information sessions and swimming lessons for 400 young people and 96 adults, in addition to water safety information days for a 1,000 young people and 80 refugee community leaders in multiple venues across Sydney and regional NSW.
Locations for information days include Auburn, Fairfield, Liverpool, Carramar, Blacktown, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Wagga Wagga and Wollongong. Interpreters for specific cultural groups will be present and written material will be translated.
"After a tragic summer with 21 drownings between Christmas and 8 January, we are committed to raising awareness of water safety to help prevent more loss of life in our waterways," Mr Grant said.
"We want to give people the opportunity to gain the water safety awareness and skills that could keep them safe at our beaches, lakes, rivers, dams and swimming pools. Our message is simple: Where there is water, there is danger.
"This program will provide swimming lessons, water safety awareness for schools in areas with high refugee populations, and will work with established providers to provide information sessions to refugee communities across NSW."
The Australian Afghan Hassanian Youth Association will also receive $26,000 to provide an eight day swimming school at Guildford Aquatic Centre for 60 Afghan and other newly arrived refugee children, aged five to 14 years.
For more information on these programs and other Water Safety Fund Community Grants programs, go to www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au