10 December 2021
The Australian Government is investing in swimming and water safety education, encouraging more teachers into the pool to strengthen skills and save lives.
The national organisation for teaching swimming and water safety, AUSTSWIM, will receive $250,000 for its “Creating Jobs, Saving Lives” project which aims to address a shortage in swim and water safety teachers.
The project will focus on re-engaging with swimming teachers who have left the industry and support them to return to the water.
AUSTSWIM will share in $10.3 million spent on 36 new programs under Sport Australia’s Participation Grant program - providing more opportunities for Australians to connect with sport and get physically active.
Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said the Australian Government was proud to partner with AUSTSWIM.
“It’s estimated that COVID-19 lockdowns across Australia have resulted in more than 12 million missed swimming lessons over the past 18 months,” Minister Colbeck said.
“With restrictions easing, we want to ensure that the 162,500 children that have missed out on swimming and water safety lessons every week have the opportunity to get back in the water in a fun and safe environment.”
AUSTSWIM CEO Simon Weatherill said the initiative aims to bring the number of swim teachers back to pre-COVID levels.
“While demand for swimming and water safety lessons has recovered quickly, the training and accreditation of teachers has not kept pace, leading to a shortage in swimming and water safety teachers.”
Mr Weatherill said that funding received for the “Creating Jobs, Saving Lives” project will support 900 swim teachers by covering the costs associated with getting and maintaining their qualifications. The project will also connect teachers with local swim centres.
“Our focus is on retraining as many of these teachers as possible and getting them back in pools across Australia and delivering swim lessons. This will increase participation in swimming for Australians of all ages which will help reduce the number of preventable drownings and water related injuries.”
Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton said the Participation Grant program will help more Australians enjoy the social, personal and health benefits of being physically active.
“Through this grant program, we will support tens of thousands of Australians to get active and build a healthier and happier nation through sport.”
The Australian Government - through Sport Australia’s Participation Grant program – has invested $28.3 million over four years to support 98 sport and physical activity programs across Australia to provide more opportunities for Australians to connect or return to sport and physical activity.