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‘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


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