Brimbank Council and Life Saving Victoria team up for better water safety education

Brimbank Council and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) will work together to develop an innovative water safety education initiative from the St Albans Health and Wellbeing Hub once built.

Council and LSV signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, formalising their commitment to improving water safety outcomes in Brimbank and across the west of Melbourne.

Brimbank Mayor, Cr Georgina Papafotiou said the initiative would have a particular focus on engaging with culturally and linguistically diverse communities, lifeguards and lifesavers.

‘Unfortunately the statistics show culturally and linguistically diverse communities are over represented in drowning statistics.

‘The upcoming development of the St Albans Health and Wellbeing Hub presents a perfect opportunity for Council and Life Saving Victoria to work together to help create a centre that provides education and resources for multicultural communities, lifesavers and lifeguards, to improve water safety understanding.

‘Council is really excited to work with LSV towards developing this innovative initiative,’ Cr Papafotiou said.

Life Saving Victoria’s Manager Multicultural Projects David Holland said LSV was pleased to partner with Brimbank City Council.

‘Life Saving Victoria’s Multicultural Team is an industry leader in partnering with multicultural communities to teach vital water safety skills through education and training initiatives. In 2018-19 alone, the team was able to deliver services to 22,000 multicultural participants,’ he said.

‘At the pool, along the coast or at inland waterways, water safety needs to be an ongoing priority for all Victorians and especially Victorians from multicultural backgrounds, with research showing about 30 per cent of people who drown in Australia were born overseas.

‘This partnership with Brimbank Council builds on Life Saving Victoria’s mission to prevent drowning deaths and injuries across the state and will improve how multicultural communities across west Melbourne engage with water safety - particularly pool safety.’

Guided by the MoU, Council and LSV will, amongst other things, look at programs that specifically address the needs of multicultural communities and how lifeguards and lifesavers can be assisted by Council and LSV to engage more effectively with multicultural communities across the western region. The MoU will remain in place for an initial period of three years.

LSV figures released in December 2019 showed a 29 per cent increase in drowning in the fatal drowning rate in 2018-19 compared to the 10 year average. Further, on average 23 per cent of drownings during the past 10 years were of individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and 86 per cent of those were male (2018/19 Life Saving Victoria Drowning Report).