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Calls For Compulsory Swimming Lessons After Drownings

Following a shocking number of drownings over the holiday period including four toddlers and two school-aged children, water safety advocates have renewed calls for swimming classes to be made mandatory in primary schools, as some parents cannot afford them. 

The summer drowning toll has been horrific with the total now standing at 18 deaths, YMCA chief executive Leisa Hart believes the government could offer rebates on learn to swim classes, which cost up to $300 for a 10-week term.

Compulsory swimming lessons in primary school could then start after that to help increase a child's swimming ability.

Royal Life Saving NSW reports that half of all primary schoolchildren can't swim by the time they enter high school.

The fees for swimming lessons needed to cover the wages of the instructors as well as other costs including renewal of their qualifications, pool hire and maintenance as well as child protection courses, she said.

"Definitely the cost has risen," Ms Hart said.

"I know that this cost makes lessons impossible for some parents.

"How do we work with places like the Royal Life Saving and Austswim to teach kids and how do we work with the government to make it more accessible? I think the perfect leverage is working through all the schools."

The Victorian Government has already announced it would make swimming classes a compulsory part of the physical education curriculum, but did not commit to funding the scheme.



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