The Australian Water Safety Council has set an ambitious target to reduce drowning deaths in Australia by 50% by 2020, as part of a new strategy released in Sydney.
The Australian Water Safety Council has set an ambitious target to reduce drowning deaths in Australia by 50% by 2020, as part of a new strategy released in Sydney. According to Royal Life Saving Society Australia’s 2007 National Drowning Report, 277 Australians drowned during 2006-2007.
“After an encouraging 20% decrease in drowning deaths between 2000-2004, a number of disturbing upwards trends have emerged recently, in particular the under fives age group, said Rob Bradley, Australian Water Safety Council Convener.
“We need to take some dramatic steps to reduce drowning fatalities and aquatic related injury and are grateful that the Australian Government is a supportive partner in this enormous challenge.
The Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008-2011 has been developed over the past 18 months from extensive industry consultation and input from Australia and overseas.
“The AWSC has identified three key drivers which will form the basis of the strategy to reduce drowning deaths by 50% by 2020.
“These include taking a life stages perspective, targeting high risk locations and meeting several significant drowning challenges to at-risk groups such as those faced by the indigenous or culturally and linguistically diverse communities across Australia, Bradley added.
“The new strategy seeks to allocate significant resources towards the major causes of drowning rather than trying to address every issue separately, said Bradley.
For example, by eliminating infant and toddler drowning in home backyard pools 15 (or 40%) of deaths in the 0-4 age group every year would be prevented.
The three target groups within the Life Stages approach will be 0-4 (infants and toddlers), the 18-35 male risk taking group and the 55+ group which is progressively growing as the Australian population ages.
The strategy also identifies the surf beach environment as an area of increasing concern and is recommending the use of advanced technology to improve surveillance and risk identification to compliment targeted services to high risk areas or blackspots’.
For example by using data from the SLSA National Coastal Safety Report high risk areas can be pin pointed, the SLSA can then use advanced technology to implement surveillance patrols to reduce the number of incidents in these areas.
Australian Water Safety Council ” Member Organisations Austswim, Royal Life Saving Society Australia, Surf Life Saving Australia, Swimming Australia, the Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport, Farmsafe Australia, Kidsafe Australia, Australian National Sportfishing Association, Aquatic and Recreation Institute, Surfing Australia, National Marine Safety Committee, Australian Local Government Association, Divers Alert Network, Australian Swimming Teachers and Coaches Association.
The Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008-2011 is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.