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Swimming safety: a regional priority

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John Cobb, MP 

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security  Member for Calare 


Swimming Safety - A Regional Priority

Monday, January 17, 2011

Keep Watch Ambassador and Federal Member for Calare, John Cobb, today met with Royal Life Saving Society officers, Alison Middleton and Nicola Reed, to check out the swimming programs being offered in Orange.

“Swim and Survive programs are well underway throughout regional NSW, and locally the Merge Holiday Program is running to educate disadvantaged kids in swimming and water safety,” Mr Cobb said.

“Swimming and water safety skills are vital during the warmer months, not only to promote healthy lifestyles, but more importantly to prevent drowning which is a major concern in our region.

“In 2010, 314 drowning deaths were recorded and of these, 56 were under the age of 17. The majority of the deaths were adults, many of whom were probably not taught to swim as kids.

“Children need to be educated from a young age about the risks associated with swimming and parents have a responsibility to ensure their children have the necessary water safety skills.

“As well as pool safety, kids in regional areas need to be educated about the dangers of dams, rivers and other waterways, all of which can pose life threatening risks.”

Mr Cobb said Royal Life Saving’s estimates that over 50,000 children aged 11-12 will leave primary school this year without even having the skills to swim the length of an Olympic swimming pool are alarming.

“It is concerning that children are missing out and not being educated in swimming and water safety skills.

“The Royal Life Saving Society do a fantastic job in promoting swimming and water safety throughout Australia and in particular our regional areas.

“As a Keep Watch Ambassador and parent myself, I strongly believe that parents should be taking advantage of the programs available in order to teach their children these invaluable life skills.

“I firmly believe that parents, schools and the Government collectively need to make swimming and water safety education a priority. Not only is swimming fun and an invaluable life skill, but it may be one that could save your life or someone else’s,” Mr Cobb said.

For information about Swim & Survive programs please contact your local Royal Life Saving Branch:

Alison Middleton PO Box 313 Orange NSW 2800 Ph: (02) 6369 0679 Media Contact Samantha Neal 02 6361 7138 0438 300 101