Surf lifesavers at Lighthouse Beach, East Ballina.
Surf lifesavers at Lighthouse Beach, East Ballina. Cathy Adams

Grants to make water safety prominent

IN order to minimise the number of drownings occurring in NSW, the State Government has offered water safety organisations the chance to apply for grant funding for research and development.

According to Royal Life Saving NSW between 2002 and 2016, 133 drowning deaths occurred in the Northern Rivers.

Of these deaths; 79% were male, 41% occurred at the beach, 35% in a river, creek or stream and the highest number of deaths occurred in people aged 35-44 years (15%).

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said the Water Safety Fund Community Grants Program is open to organisations, community groups and research bodies to help prevent this going number.

"Tragically, last summer 41 people drowned in NSW. Where there is water there is danger and we need to get the message across to reverse the spike,” Mr Grant said.

"This funding will help educate and better equip those heading into water at beaches, pools and inland waterways.”

"We do not want another Christmas and New Year period like the last one where 17 lives were lost.”

"Priority will be given to initiatives that target high-risk groups and locations that have been identified in research by Royal Life Saving.”

This includes projects that focus on:

  • Encouraging active parental supervision of children around water,
  • Changing the risk-taking behaviour of men,
  • Highlighting the dangers of swimming at unpatrolled locations, and
  • Educating Aboriginal communities, CALD communities, and international visitors.

Minister Grant said the 2017-18 grant program also has a stronger emphasis on collaborative initiatives between water safety organisations and community groups.

"After listening to feedback at the inaugural Water Safety Forum on 9 May, it was clear that many water safety and community-based organisations were working towards a common goal,” Mr Grant said.

"We want to bring water safety experts and community groups together to build water safety skills and resilience in our local communities.

"It's time to join forces, pool resources and reduce drownings in NSW together.”

Applications close 4 August 2017.

For more information see: http://www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au/Pages/water-safety-fund/Water-Safety-Fund.aspx.



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