Water Safety Directory aims to reduce drowning deaths across Sydney

Sutherland Shire Council has partnered with over a dozen organisations across south east Sydney, including four Councils and several NSW Government bodies, to launch a new water safety resource aimed at preventing drowning deaths within culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and newly-arrived communities.

The South East Sydney Water Safety Directory will be made available to a variety of different community based organisations including community service groups, churches and schools, who have direct links to CALD and newly-arrived community members, in order to educate on beach and water safety.

It features aquatic services, water safety resources and existing courses and workshops that are run across Sydney, and was developed by the South East Sydney Multicultural Water Safety Committee, comprising of; Sutherland Shire, Georges River, Bayside and Randwick Councils, Advance Diversity Services, Gymea Community Aid and Information Service, Surf Life Saving NSW, Royal Life Saving NSW, Kogarah Community Services, the NSW Department of Justice and Office of Sport and St George Police Area Command.

“This fantastic new resource is the result of strong partnerships between Council, NSW Government and community service groups,” said Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce.

“The directory aims to promotes better coordination of beach and water safety initiatives between service providers, increase the capacity of service providers and community groups to deliver culturally appropriate water safety programs, and raise awareness among CALD communities.”

According to Royal Life Saving Australia, one third of drowning deaths across all waterways and all sports are people who have been born overseas.

“We want people to be able to come and enjoy the beautiful beaches and waterways we are lucky to have here in Sutherland Shire and across Sydney, but we also want them to arrive home to their families at the end of each day safely,” added Mayor Pesce.

“It’s important to be aware of risks when in the water and we need community organisations to form part of the education process, informing people of where to go for the right information or where they can seek help.”

This directory will be available all over Sydney, in hard copy and digital form, and is a first step in the South East Sydney Multicultural Water Safety Committees efforts to advocate for more water safety initiatives in the region and contribute to preventing deaths in pools, on our beaches and waterways.

Neelam Airi, a member of Nepalese Australian Association spoke at the Water Safety Directory launch about her personal connection to the topic and the importance of the new water safety resource.

“Having come from Nepal to Australia, I believe the issue with water death and injuries has been prevalent due to lack of general community awareness amongst newcomers or the immigrants about water safety procedures and dangers in and around water.

“Back in Nepal, we do not have beaches and oceans, thus, it is essential to understand the measures to cope with the water current and other dangers.

“Compulsory exposure to programs and resources on water safety during orientation weeks in universities and distributing handbooks including safety measures would highlight the danger zones around water and be extremely beneficial to all communities.”

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