Over 150 water safety and drowning prevention experts from across Australia, Singapore, Japan and New Zealand, attended the Australian Water Safety Conference 2012 (From Strategy to Action) which was hosted in Sydney on 4-5 June 2012.
The Australian Water Safety Council officially released the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15 at the Conference, which aims to reduce drowning deaths across Australia by 50% by 2020 with the ultimate aim of achieving a nation free from drowning.
Senator the Honourable Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport; Minister for Multicultural Affairs; Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation – attended the conference and welcomed the release of the Strategy.
Rob Bradley Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) Convenor said, “There’s so much work to be done. Since 2008 Australia has experienced a concerning increase in drowning deaths across a range of demographics, locations and activities. The 2012-15 Strategy focuses on prevention strategies to reduce drowning deaths in inland waterways, to reduce the number of people aged over 55 who are drowning and reduce the impact of disaster and extreme weather on drowning deaths.
“The Australian Water Safety Council is deeply committed to drowning prevention in Australia and is a collective voice for Australia’s leading water safety organisations. It’s all about taking action to reduce drowning in partnership with government, the industry and the community.”
A major delegation of water safety experts involved with Japan’s Water Safety Nippon took part in the conference, signing a special memorandum of cooperation with the Australian Water Safety Council. Japan currently has a high rate of drowning deaths and Water Safety Nippon was established in March 2010 as a public private partnership promoting a message of achieving zero water accidents. The campaign operates nationwide focusing on preventing children and adults from drowning.
The Conference looked at the most effective means of reducing drowning after the most recent National Drowning Report (2011) revealed 315 people drowned (between1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011). It is the highest level of drowning seen in Australia since 2003. The numbers jumped by 11% when compared to the 5 year average.
Rob Bradley added, “We have to do more. Too many lives are being lost in Australia. The Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15 is vital as we move forward and the conference showcased the great work already being undertaken to prevent drowning in Australia.
Members of the Water Safety Council include Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA), Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), The Australian Council for the Teaching of Swimming and Water Safety (AUSTSWIM), Australian National Sportfishing Association (ANSA), Swimming Australia, Divers Alert Network (DAN) Asia Pacific,
The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia (Kidsafe), Farmsafe Australia, Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee, Surfing Australia, Australian Leisure Facilities Association, Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA), Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
CONFERENCE – PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Monday 4 June 2012
- Overview and Launch: Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15 (Towards a nation free from drowning) Rob Bradley, Convenor, Australian Water Safety Council and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Life Saving Society – Australia
- Official Signing – Memorandum of Cooperation with Water Safety Nippon – Hideharu Hirowatari, Chairman of Water Safety Nippon
- Concurrent Presentations (24) – linked to the priority areas of the AWS Strategy – Lifestages (Children 0-14/Young People 15-24); Locations (Surf Beaches/Aquatic Industry/Inland Waterways) and Challenges (Alcohol and Drugs/Recreational Activities/High Risk Populations).
- Drowning and Disasters Workshop – Discussion focused on natural disasters and impact they have had within Australia. Guest speakers included: Australian Emergency Management Institute, NSW State Emergency Service and Surf Life Saving Queensland.
- Conference Dinner – Guest Speaker – Senator the Honourable Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport; Minister for Multicultural Affairs; Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation.
Tuesday 5 June 2012
- Open Forum – Challenges for Implementation of the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-15.
- Mobilising a State to Support Drowning Prevention Legislation – Introduction of Home Pool Fencing Legislation in QLD. Glen Brumby, Executive Director, Building Codes Queensland, Department of Housing and Public Works.
- Concurrent Presentations (26) – linked to the priority areas of the AWS Strategy – Lifestages (Children 0-14/Young People 15-24); Locations (Surf Beaches/Aquatic Industry) and Challenges (Recreational Activities). Further National and International Perspectives will be presented.
- Summary and Future Directions – Australian Water Safety Council