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Australian drowning prevention strategy
“We know that over 300 Australians will drown this year. We know this because over 300 Australians drown every year. Drowning is the third largest cause of accidental death in Australia overall and in the 0–5 age group is the number one killer. And the real tragedy of drowning is that almost every drowning is preventable”. Rob Bradley , Royal Life Saving Society, opening the National Water Safety Conference, May 1998, Melbourne.
It is little news to anyone that Australia has a problem with drowning—over the past 20 years toddler drowning in domestic pools has been a focus of prevention by injury specialists—but to date there has been no concerted action across all drowning issues. With the formation of the Australian Water Safety Council this will change.
The council was formed in February 1998 as the result of representation to, and with the strong support of, the Federal Minister responsible for sport, Andrew Thompson. It is intended to act as a consultative forum comprising the major water safety and related government agencies and includes rescue and swim training organisations, such as the Royal Life Saving Society, Surf Life Saving Australia, AUSTSWIM, safety groups such as Farmsafe and Kidsafe, and key government associations such as the Local Government Association.
A conference was held by the council in May to design an action plan to maximise the cooperation between water safety organisations and the various tiers of government to ensure that effective strategies are enacted that avoid duplication …