Those from diverse backgrounds are being urged to heed the surf safety message of a program which educated more than 31,000 people in Queensland in the past year on how to stay safe on our beaches and in our waterways.
Multicultural Affairs Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the On The Same Wave water safety program, funded by the Palaszczuk Government in partnership with Surf Life-Saving Queensland, was crucial with the summer holidays hitting full swing.
“Recent drownings in Queensland and interstate highlight the need for those visiting our beaches and waterways to take care in the water,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Always swim between the flags on a patrolled beach and if you do get into trouble, stay calm and raise your arm for help.
“Queensland’s beautiful beaches and inland waterways attract people from all over the world, but they also pose a potential danger to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“Not everyone is familiar with rips and strong currents, and I thank our partner Surf Life Saving Queensland for the great work it’s doing educating recently arrived migrants, refugees and international students about surf safety.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government supports Surf Life Saving Queensland with funding for the On The Same Wave program and a wide range of other initiatives to reach those at risk.
“It is a sad fact that in the past 10 years, 40 per cent of drownings were of international tourists, migrants and other overseas visitors,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“The On The Same Wave program ensures the information goes out to as many newcomers and visitors to our shores as possible.”
In 2017/18 surf lifesavers engaged with more than 31,000 people by visiting schools, community groups and multicultural events to distribute safety information in more than 25 languages.
Surf Life Saving Queensland Chief Executive John Brennan said the On The Same Wave initiative was helping to save lives.
“This program is vitally important for us to get the water safety message far and wide and we welcome the Queensland Government’s commitment,” Mr Brennan said.
“By engaging directly with multicultural communities and international travellers, we’re able to teach them how to stay safe on Queensland beaches and give them basic water safety skills which they will have for the rest of their lives.
“Tourists, migrants and other people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are over-represented in Queensland’s drowning figures, and that’s why initiatives such as On The Same Wave are so important.”
The Queensland Government is committing more than $100,000 to continue the On The Same Wave program for another year while also supporting Surf Life Saving Queensland with funding for a trial of Life-Fi at 10 surf lifesaving clubs.
The Life-Fi uses wi-fi technology to steam a live multilingual feed of conditions, closures and other safety tips.
For more information visit: www.dlgrma.qld.gov.au/on-the-same-wave
Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe