Swim classes call for 'at risk' CALD community

At risk: Councillor Lou Konjarski, centre, with memers of the local Nepalese community.
At risk: Councillor Lou Konjarski, centre, with memers of the local Nepalese community.

Georges River Council will look at providing adult learn to swim classes for the local culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community.

Councillor Lou Konjarski presented a Notice of Motion at the November 25 Council meeting for a report be prepared on delivering adult learn to swim and water safety programs for Council's culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community members.

Councillor Konjarski said the report will consider any existing adult learn to swim and water safety programs available, as well as cultural and financial barriers to current participation for recent residents from CALD backgrounds.

"The report will aim to identify the potential benefits of implementing a program for recent residents, and possible funding sources and partnerships for this program," Cr Konjarski said.

"The proposed initiative is consistent with community goals, namely, that everyone can navigate the local government area in safety, with access to a range of active and passive recreation facilities.

"The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2018 has revealed that a total of 276 people lost their life to drowning in Australian waterways between July 1 2018 and June 30 2019, and there were an estimated further 584 hospitalisations resulting from non-fatal drowning incidents.

"CALD community members have been identified as one of the highest 'at-risk' groups, and Council should be offering whatever programs we are able to in order to change this," Cr Konjarski said.

The South East Sydney Water Safety Committee which comprises Georges River, Sutherland Shire, Bayside and Randwick City Councils launched the South East Sydney Water Safety Directory to provide targeted resources for CALD communities in September 2018.

This comprehensive directory lists aquatic services and water safety resources to provide information for service providers and community groups to help improve water safety on our beaches and waterways.

In 2017 Council funded a free 8-week learn to swim program for the Nepalese community, delivered by BlueFit at the Hurstville Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

A report is expected to be presented to Council in April 2020.