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Balgo Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool gets official opening

Balgo Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool gets official opening
March 4, 2020

The remote Aboriginal swimming pool in the Kimberley community of Balgo was officially opened last week at a ceremony attended by Kimberley MP Josie Farrer and Royal Life Saving WA's Greg Tate.

The pool is part of Western Government commitment of $15.53 million to construct and provide operational funding for two pools in the Kimberley, at Balgo and Kalumburu. Both projects have seen the construction of a 25 metre six-lane pool, a toddler pool, ablution buildings, a home for the swimming pool manager and landscaping work. They also include beach entry for people with disability.

Swimming pools are acknowledged for their role in providing a range of benefits in communities like Balgo and Kalumburu including improved health, education and social outcomes as well as training and employment opportunities.

In addition, during its construction phase the Balgo pool provided regional and remote employment opportunities for 17 Aboriginal workers, including eight apprentices, and since its completion has attracted 3,500 recreational visits each month.

Work commenced on the Balgo pool and facilities in September 2018 and the project was completed on 29th March last year at a cost of $7 million. Site works for the Kalumburu pool started in May 2019 and concluded in December 2019 at a total cost of $6.6 million.

Royal Life Saving WA provides swimming pool managers who live in the communities to manage and maintain the swimming pools. They also deliver programs such as swimming lessons, swimming carnivals, lifesaving training and other community activities.

Acknowledging the importance of the facility and the way that local community members have welcomed the pool and its staff, Royal Life Saving WA General Manager Community Relations, Greg Tate stated “Royal Life Saving has had enormous support since becoming part of the Balgo community over the last 12 months.

"It has been especially pleasing to note the community's commitment to water safety and assisting us in enforcing the pool rules allowing everyone to use and enjoy this amazing facility safely.

"Pool Managers Graeme Pollett and Bronwyn Ray have made Balgo their home. They work long hours to maintain this incredible facility and organise and deliver numerous programs to keep it activated.

"These programs have provided health, social and educational benefits for all community members."

Drowning statistics show that Aboriginal children aged 0-18 are 8.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal drowning incident than non-Aboriginal children, so the availability of swimming and water safety education to children in communities like Balgo and Kalumburu is vital.

Western Australian Housing Minister Peter Tinley says it’s pleasing to see the benefits of the pool being recognised in the communities, adding "the local school has also observed an improvement in the health and wellness of children, and importantly, the pools provide a great incentive to get kids to attend school and encourage good behaviour. Students from the local school visit the pool four days a week, with numbers ranging from 30 to 60 children.

"I was particularly impressed to hear that school attendance has almost tripled since the pool opened.”

The two new pools are the seventh and eighth to be built by the Western Australian Department of Communities in the regions.

Royal Life Saving WA is pleased to be working with the Department on what it calls says is an "incredibly important and successful program, and looks forward to seeing the many health, education and employment opportunities that flow through the local communities from the pool".

Click here for more information on the Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool Project.

Images: (Top, from left) local Stephanie Chungerai, Pool Managers Bronwyn Ray and Graeme Pollett, with Local Shane Wandiga and Royal Life Saving WA's Greg Tate at the official opening of the Balgo Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool (courtesy of Royal Life Saving WA) and the construction of the Kalumburu Community Pool (below).

Related Articles

21st February 2020 - Report says Moree pool pricing Indigenous Australians out of its waters

15th October 2019 - Technology from Marina Bay Sands used to build pre-fabricated pool in remote Aboriginal community

19th December 2019 - Royal Life Saving WA partners with LIWA Aquatics to stress water safety vigilance over summer holidays

11th October 2019 - Royal Life Saving WA presents 2019 Bravery Awards

24th January 2019 - Royal Life Saving WA helps women learn to Swim and Survive 

16th August 2018 - Royal Life Saving WA provides Swim and Survive program for CaLD children 

20th June 2018 - Western Australian Governor named new Royal Life Saving WA Patron

3rd April 2018 - Royal Life Saving WA honouring community heroes

21st March 2018 - Royal Life Saving WA promotes family fun at remote Burringurrah pool

19th March 2018 - Colin Hassell named President of Royal Life Saving WA

8th January 2018 - Royal Life Saving WA recognises quick-thinking lifeguards

8th November 2016 - Swimming pools in remote Aboriginal communities provide health and social benefits

23rd February 2016 - Royal Life Saving warns of drowning dangers in inland water

12th October 2015 - Drowning risk for children five times higher in regional and remote areas of Western Australia

10th January 2013 - Swim for Life celebrates five years in the Pilbara

31st July 2012 - Training to address pool manager shortage in the Pilbara and Kimberley

9th December 2010 - Remote facility builds on community support

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