I am pleased to announce that the Rudd Government and Laurie Lawrence will work together on water safety education for all newborn babies in Australia, to reduce drowning injuries and deaths among children aged 0 to 5 years in Australia.
It is difficult to imagine anything more heartbreaking for a parent than for their toddler to drown in what could have been a totally preventable incident.
That's why the Government will provide up to $4.2 million over four years to distribute a new Kids Alive DVD to the parents of each of the 260,000 babies born in Australia each year.
The Kids Alive DVD will feature water safety education for parents with a particular focus on how to supervise children in the water, appropriate pool fencing and teaching resuscitation.
In Australia we are blessed with a magnificent coastline and fabulous beaches, along with rivers and lakes that promote a strong water sports culture. But these waterways also carry safety risks.
Ongoing water safety education for Australian children under five years of age is a proven way of preventing drownings, increasing water safety and minimising injury, hospitalisation and death among young children.
The national drowning rate has decreased from 2.0 deaths per 100,000 people in 1992 to 1.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 2006-07.
Water safety education is an important preventative safety measure for Australian children, and builds on the Rudd Government's commitments to ensure kids get a healthy start in life, through initiatives like the Healthy Kids Check.
The Rudd Government committed a total of $22.2 million over four years in the budget to support the work of Australian water safety organisations. This includes funding of $8 million over four years for projects and priority initiatives under the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008‑11.
It also includes $10 million over four years to continue support for water safety and other national recreation safety organisations, including Surf Life Saving Australia, the Royal Life Saving Society Australia, and AUSTSWIM.
24 May 2008