Australian Aquatic Industry is essential to keep communities safer

Australian Aquatic Industry is essential to keep communities safer

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Julie Sheldrake started this petition to NSW Health and

The latest lockdown due to COVID is having a significant impact on the aquatic and learn to swim industry nationally, and at a local level, on our business. We are writing to appeal to you to support our position that the Aquatic Industry should be considered as a unique sector and legislated separately in terms of our safety to reopen and to continue to operate in the context of covid. The Aquatic industry is essential to the social, emotional and physical health and wellbeing of the community, and Learn To Swim is essential to the water safety of children. 

Swim Schools and Aquatic Centres have been closed in every lockdown to date, despite strong Covid safety plans, social distancing measures in place, QR code check in and a strong ability to track and trace, plus defined Learn To Swim class sizes and limited adult to adult interaction, and against the backdrop of international studies citing the Covid safety of chlorinated water and indoor aquatic environments, all whilst delivering a lifesaving skill. Today’s pools are sophisticated facilities with operating plants, filtration and water quality systems, and environmental air controls. These disinfection systems ensure a safe environment which inhibits the spread of bacterial germs and viruses.

Despite government assistance, the fact remains that repeated lockdowns will potentially result in some NSW swim schools closing their doors for good, skilled instructors being lost to other industries, and even less opportunities available for children to Learn To Swim, many of whom already are not hitting their age appropriate swimming milestones, and the community to access swimming for social, emotional and physical health and wellbeing. 

Drowning remains the number 1 cause of accidental death in children under 5 in Australia. The NSW government has recognised the importance of Learn To Swim with the introduction of Active Kids Vouchers and the recent announcement of the Preschool Swimming Lesson Voucher scheme, and we are very concerned that a cessation of lessons for any period of time will negatively impact many thousands of NSW children’s swimming skills, and that the latest prolonged lockdown may also provide the catalyst for parents to cease lessons for a longer period of time over winter and spring. Whilst there are a number of important drowning prevention initiatives, learning to swim is by far the primary driver to control our national drowning statistics.

This has the potential to catastrophically affect drowning numbers this summer, as evidenced by the rise in drowning statistics in Victoria post covid lockdown last summer of up to 300%. Anecdotally this stems from pools being closed, limiting access to swimming and water safety lessons and for people to maintain fitness and competency levels in the water. We do not want to see this trend replicated in NSW as a result of repeated lockdowns or a delayed return to operations.

Based on the above information, we request your assistance to fast-track the re-opening of all pools (indoor and outdoor) in regional NSW and Greater Sydney. Furthermore, we request that Swim Schools and Aquatic Centres are considered as falling under the unique Aquatic Industry banner and are considered and directed towards reopening separately from other recreational industries. 

 

We would appreciate if you could please support this stance and advocate to the decision makers on our behalf in advance of our exit out of lockdown in the coming weeks. Please let me know if you have any questions on the above or require any additional information. Thank you in advance for your support.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!