he Australian Government has stepped up efforts to reduce the number of drowning deaths with the latest statistics showing 266 Australians drowned in the last year.
Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory Nigel Scullion said the Royal Life Saving Society Drowning Report 2014 showed too many lives were being lost to drowning.
Senator Scullion said the Minister for Health Peter Dutton had announced funding of $4 million across five years for the Royal Life Saving Society aimed at preventing drowning deaths in inland waterways.
“As a Community Keep Watch Ambassador for NT Royal Life Saving I am pleased the Abbott Government is assisting in reducing drowning deaths across the country, including in the Territory. The funding is part of a $15 million package to cut drowning deaths across the nation,” Senator Scullion said.
“The 2014 Drowning Report reveals that in the Northern Territory there have been 13 drowning deaths between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014.
“Tragically, the Territory has the highest rate of drowning in Australia at 5.36 per 100,000 population, almost four times higher than NSW and QLD.
“The 2014 Drowning Report shows that inland waterways – rivers, lakes, creeks and dams – are the leading location for drowning deaths. The Territory’s rivers and creeks are a beacon for recreational activities such as fishing and boating but I urge Territorians to be safe around all our waterways.
“This latest report shows that the number of drownings nationally has fallen in the past year from 295 in 2012-13 to 266, but this is still a terrible number and we must do more.
“Many of these deaths are preventable by following simple actions such as wearing a lifejacket, supervising children when swimming, learning CPR and ensuring there is no alcohol around water activities.
“Everyone can be a lifesaver and there is good, practical advice available from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia (http://www.royallifesaving.com.au),” Senator Scullion said.
The $4 million funding announcement builds on more than $8 million a year invested in water safety through the Saving Lives in the Water Programme, including new education materials and resources for children from former Olympic swimming coach Laurie Lawrence launched earlier this month.
Download media release:
2014-10-03 royal lifesaying release .pdf