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Water safety program boost as swim season approaches

Education Minister Grace Grace has announced students at 100 per cent of Queensland’s state primary schools will have a water safety and/or learn to swim program from 2019.

Following the final Water Safety Roundtable meeting held in Brisbane, Ms Grace said the Palaszczuk Government would commit $3.68 million annually to increase and expand swimming and water safety programs for Queensland students.

Other key outcomes of the Water Safety Roundtable include:

  • A Statement of Expectations where all state schools will provide all students with safe, positive and engaging water safety and learn to swim programs

  • A new $150,000 Swimming and Water Safety Grant funding program, so schools can apply for additional funds to support their swimming and/or water safety program

  • Queensland Water Safety Action Statement – a plan to ensure every Queenslander has the information and support needed to be safe in and around the water

  • A water safety and swimming education program for Prep to Year 10 students – in line with the National Swimming and Water Safety Framework and Australian Curriculum.

Ms Grace said the investment of $3.68 million, was a funding boost of $2.18 million per year to implement the outcomes of the roundtable.

“This additional funding will mean all state schools with primary students will be funded to provide water safety and/or learn to swim programs,” she said.

“We know that swimming and water sports are an integral part of Queensland life, and we want to ensure that our children are safe in and around the water.

“Our commitment of additional funding has been informed by the highly-regarded experts on the roundtable.”

Ms Grace said all Water Safety Roundtable representatives will sign a pledge, signalling the unique community partnership approach required to address water safety and education.

“We sought advice from a range of experienced stakeholders, including representatives from swimming safety organisations, school sectors and parent and teacher peak bodies, to find the best practice solutions to improving water safety for Queenslanders,” she said.

Surf Life Saving Queensland CEO, John Brennan OAM welcomed the new water safety measures.

“We’ve always known Queensland as the Sunshine State and now we are clearly on the map as the Water Safe State,” Mr Brennan said.

“I thank the Minister for bringing all key stakeholders together to develop some real solutions to improve water safety for all Queensland children.”

The Water Safety Roundtable included representatives from Surf Life Saving Queensland, Royal Life Saving Association Australia, AUSTSWIM, Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association, P&Cs Queensland, Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, Parents and Friends Federation, Principals’ Association Presidents, Independent Schools Queensland and the Queensland Catholic Education Commission and from a range of government agencies.

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