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Keeping our community safe in our local waterways

Thursday 13 October 2022

Albury is spoiled for choice when it comes to places to cool off with inland waterways such as rivers, creeks, lakes, and dams all popular amongst locals over the warmer months.

The Noreuil Parkand Lake Hume foreshores are among the most popular places in our region to escape the summer heat.

However, it has been identified that these environments present a higher risk of drowning due to a variety of factors including ever changing river conditions, remoteness, drugs and alcohol, lack of supervision and swimming ability.

Sadly, the Murray River is the number one river drowning blackspot in Australia with over 70 unintentional fatal drownings since 2002.

AlburyCity engaged Royal Life Saving (RLS) NSW, the peak body in NSW for drowning prevention leadership and education, to assist in developing a draft Inland Waterways Drowning Prevention Strategy.

The strategy was developed in consultation with the community through an online survey and community drowning prevention workshop with community leaders, local emergency agencies and other key stakeholders in our region.

The focus of the draft Inland Waterways Drowning Prevention Strategy is to understand the knowledge, desires and priorities of our community regarding drowning prevention; implement the RLS NSW Safe Systems approach to Drowning Prevention; define the roles and responsibilities of Council in facilitating and delivering the strategies; and highlight clear actions that we can undertake towards achieving the ultimate goal of a community free from drowning.

Some of the key actions in the strategy include:

  • Investigating the feasibility of a pilot for installing emergency help points, rescue equipment and communication systems
  • Investigating the feasibility of a community program which trains members of the public in rescue and resuscitation
  • Regularly checking and removing permanent and transitory hazards
  • Investigating the feasibility of a pilot for a safe designated swimming area at an identified location at Lake Hume
  • Implementing an Inland Waterways Safety Campaign and an education program targeting CALD communities
  • Investigating the feasibility of implementing a renewed safety signage system at identified locations
  • Implementing a trial for free pool entry days at our swim centres on high risk days such as Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day... and more.

AlburyCity Mayor Kylie King said Council was pleased to partner with Royal Life Saving NSW to develop the first Inland Water Drowning Prevention Strategy.

"The draft Inland Waterways Drowning Prevention Strategy will guide our approach to supporting our whole community to be safer around the water," Mayor King said.

"While AlburyCity will play a leading role in delivering the strategy, it's a team effort. We all need to look out for each other and work together to keep our friends and family safe."

The draft Inland Waterways Drowning Prevention Strategy is available for community feedback on the AlburyCity website.

Submissions close Tuesday 8 November 2022.