Life Saving Victoria welcomes the news that the Victorian Government is pledging $8.3M over two years towards water safety initiatives.
“After a tragic summer of drowning deaths in Victoria, the funding represents a critical contribution towards what is ultimately a life and death issue and of utmost importance to all Victorians,” says Tom Mollenkopf, Life Saving Victoria’s President. “It will go towards addressing the increase in drownings with the ultimate aim of lowering the drowning toll.”
The news comes after a Victorian summer drowning toll of 23 reported drowning deaths from the 1st December 2017 to 28th February 2018, which is the highest summer drowning toll since the summer of 1997/98. This is also 9 more than the 5-year average for the same period (2012/13 to 2016/17).
“Sadly, drowning will always be an issue for Victoria and one that needs to be addressed as populations increase and new demographics start using the water,” says Mr Mollenkopf. “In light of that, we must continue pushing water safety messages and remain vigilant.”
The upward trend in the drowning toll has seen a rise every year for the last three years, a worrying issue for the state.
“As outlined through the Victorian Water Safety Strategy (VWSS), reducing drowning-related death and injury requires a multifaceted approach in the form of community-based actions, effective policies, ongoing research and targeted campaigns that increase community education and awareness,” says Mr Mollenkopf. “This funding furthers the collaborative efforts between government, community and industry to implement the VWSS.”
This year (from the 1st July 2017 – 5th April 2018), there have been 37 drowning deaths, which is 3 more than the 5-year average for the same time period.
“In Victoria, we have access to beautiful beaches, state-of-the-art aquatic facilities and many hot days when cooling off in inland waterways is essential,” says Mr Mollenkopf. “Life Saving Victoria encourages the use of aquatic facilities and resources, so this funding will go a long way towards making sure everyone can still enjoy aquatic pursuits with increased education, lifesaving capability and knowledge of waterways helping them do so safely.”