Latest News

Back to Latest News back


‘Culturally Competent’ aquatic centres look to reduce drownings among diverse communities

‘Culturally Competent’ aquatic centres look to reduce drownings among diverse communities
July 14, 2020

With Royal Life Saving Society - Australia research finding that 79% of 'multicultural people' who drowned in NSW between July 2013 and June 2018 were poor or non-swimmers, Royal Life Saving NSW’s new Cultural Competence Program for Aquatic Centres has been specifically developed to address the high number of drowning fatalities among diverse communities.

With Royal Life Saving’s research also finding that many refugees and migrants arriving in Australia had limited or no contact with a public swimming pool or had had no formal swimming or water safety education, the Cultural Competence Program, produced in partnership with the NSW Government, will involve

Advising how the Cultural Competence Program is a step towards improving multicultural populations' water safety skills, Royal Life Saving NSW’s Chief Executive, Michael Ilinsky, stated “for many recent migrants, the journey to a pool may be daunting or unknown.

“It is therefore really important that we make Aquatic Centres welcoming and positive places to visit for everyone.”

The Cultural Competence Program is designed to ensure that employees within aquatic centres have an understanding of the issues affecting people from other countries, and their needs. The aim is to increase cultural engagement and prepare the sector to build resilient and inclusive communities that have the relevant skills and knowledge to participate in aquatic recreation safely.

Illinsky notes “our Cultural Competence Program is free for partner organisations. We’d like to encourage aquatic facilities in New South Wales to sign up to become accredited ‘Culturally Qualified Centres’ once their employees have completed the training.”

With Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre was the first pool nationally to complete the training, Sydney Olympic Park Authority Chief Executive, Sam Romaniuk, said they jumped at the opportunity to conduct the training among all staff to ensure the Centre could provide a safe, inclusive environment for everyone to enjoy.

Romaniuk advised “the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre attracts over one million visitors each year to learn to swim, train, and spectate or to splash about and have fun.

“We are proud of the cultural diversity of our staff, members and visitors. All staff, be it our lifeguards, front desk workers or management team, have completed the Cultural Competence Program so we are best equipped to respect one another and provide a welcoming and inclusive environment.”

The development of Royal Life Saving NSW’s Cultural Competence Program was supported by SBS, Multicultural NSW and International Education Services.

Currently, 10 aquatic centres in NSW have been accredited as ‘Culturally Qualified Centres’:

• Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre
• Oasis Aquatic Centre Wagga Wagga
• First Splashes Toronto
• Galston Aquatic Centre
• Hornsby Aquatic Centre
• Nereids Aquatic Coaching
• Granville Swim Centre
• Guildford Swimming Centre
• Merrylands Swimming Centre
• Wentworthville Swimming Centre

Click here for more information about the Royal Life Saving NSW Cultural Competence Program or contact Royal Life Saving on 02 9634 3700. 

Related Articles

1st July 2020 - Cities of Sydney and Adelaide power aquatic centres and sports fields with 100% renewable energy

18th June 2020 - Consultants Otium highlight how aquatic and recreation projects stimulate local communities

5th June 2020 - Approval of Industry Plan sets path for reopening of Queensland’s swimming pools and aquatic centres

12th June 2020 - Royal Life Saving responds to questions on resuscitation during Coronavirus pandemic

20th May 2020 - Royal Life Saving fears AIS reboot Framework fails to account for swimming and water safety programs

1st May 2020 - Royal Life Saving makes the case for the reopening of Australia’s aquatic centres and swim schools

3rd April 2020 - Royal Life Saving welcomes JobKeeper payments as a ‘$700 million lifeline’ for aquatic facilities and swim schools

18th March 2020 - Royal Life Saving releases position statement on the impact of Coronavirus on aquatic facilites

19th March 2020 - Drownings fall across Australian summer of extremes

5th December 2019 - AUSTSWIM receives funding boost to combat multicultural drownings

7th November 2019 - NSW lifeguards look to halt drownings of foreign swimmers this summer

31st December 2018 - Federal Minister says number of holiday drownings is unacceptably high 

7th December 2018 - Australian Water Safety council addresses drowning among multicultural communities

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

16th July 2008 - Multiculturalism in the Aquatic Industry

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Playrope Aqua-Fun, are the Australian & New Zealand exclusive distributors for Vortex Aquatic Structures International, the world leader in aquatic playgrounds and urban water landscapes.…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Parks / Play / Recreation


ProSlide Technology

ProSlide is the global leader in water ride design and manufacturing, supplying high-performance water attractions to new and expanding water parks around the world. For over three decades, ProSlide…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks


Goplay Commercial Playground Equipment

Goplay designs and manufactures specialised playground equipment for indoor play centres, hotels, food chains, clubs and resorts. If our years of experience and dedication have taught us one thing,…

read more



Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces



iEDM integrate Design, Engineering and Delivery Management services to convert existing spaces into exciting new entertainment venues. Our team consists of highly qualified professionals with diverse…

read more

Consultants / Design



AUSTRALIAN MADE. BUILT NOT BOUGHT. AlphaFit is a 100% Australian owned family company manufacturing gear specifically for the strength and conditioning, functional fitness and high-performance…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness



revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology


Yellowbox Lockers

Yellowbox is an Australian technology company that has developed smart locker technology operated through an app with a focus on experience for users and facility managers. Found at Beaches, Aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Entertainment / Retail / Security


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business