Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Melinda Pavey met with Liberal MP for Penrith Stuart Ayres and with Liberal candidate for Londonderry Bart Bassett today to outline the NSW Liberals & Nationals $12 million plan to reduce drowning deaths by 50%.
As part of the plan, the NSW Liberals & Nationals will provide funding to ensure notorious drowning ‘black spots’ are made safer, water safety education is improved and lifesaving organisations are given greater resources to save lives.
Mrs Pavey said that, if elected, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government would:
1. Make Emergency Management NSW the lead agency on the Government’s water safety strategy;
2. Develop a NSW Water Safety Strategy to ensure NSW is able to meet Federal targets for drowning death reduction;
3. Provide an additional $4 million funding for Surf Life Saving NSW; and
4. Create an $8 million Water Safety ‘Black Spots’ Fund.
\”Residents in Sydney’s west characterise their way of life by the various social activities spent in and around the water – a BBQ around backyard pools or swimming in the Nepean and Hawkesbury River – it’s all part of the region’s appeal,\” Mrs Pavey said.
\”However, latest figures indicate that 103 people died by drowning in NSW in the 12 months to July 2010, with males four more times likely than females to drown.
\”The NSW Liberals & Nationals recognise that a coordinated response from government is needed to reduce the rate of drowning deaths.
\”The NSW Liberals & Nationals are committed to building safer communities and reducing the tragedy of drowning, which is estimated to cost NSW between $38 million and $63 million.
\”The Australian Water Safety Strategy has a goal of a 50% reduction in drowning deaths by 2020, however NSW is unlikely to even reduce the current annual drowning rate, which remains above 100 deaths per year, let alone halve that.
\”Currently five government departments are on the NSW Water Safety Council but not one of those has a leadership role, which is why we will charge Emergency Management NSW with the goal of developing and implementing a new drowning prevention strategy.\”
Stuart Ayres said the new drowning ‘black spot’ fund will allow direct intervention such as fencing, multi-lingual or other signage at notorious drowning locations along the Nepean and elsewhere, as well as targeted education campaigns to high-risk groups such young males and those of a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background.
Bart Bassett also welcomed the plan and its focus on a nationally consistent approach to drowning prevention.
\”Building safer communities and improving water safety in Sydney’s west is an important part of our plan to make NSW number one again,\” he said.