Victoria has experienced the lowest rate of drowning deaths on record according to the 2011 Victorian Drowning Report released today by the Victorian Coalition Government.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan said 34 people died in drowning incidents in 2010/11– the lowest drowning rate since the start of the Play It Safe by the Water campaign in 1998.
“While the latest figures are an improvement on previous years, the reality is one drowning death in the water is one too many, and that people of all ages must be vigilant around waterways,” Mr Ryan said.
“One area that has seen a significant improvement is the rate of toddler drowning deaths, which is down from seven in 2009/10 to just one in 2010/11,” Mr Ryan said.
“The ‘20 seconds is all it takes for a child to drown’ advertising campaign is believed to have played a big part in reducing the death toll and the government will invest $500,000 to ensure it continues this summer.”
Mr Ryan said while the overall result was welcome, the report showed that drowning deaths were still too frequent among certain age groups and in certain areas.
“The report highlights that there are still too many drowning deaths in the 5 to 14 years of age group and amongst young males,” Mr Ryan said.
“People aged over 60 years, however, accounted for the highest drowning rate, with medical conditions playing a major factor in these drownings.”
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government, together with the aquatics industry, was working on new and existing water safety strategies to promote water safety and highlight the risks.
“The Coalition Government has allocated $3 million this financial year to continue delivering water safety programs which include the Play It Safe by the Water campaign, community and school education programs and lifesaving services,” Mr Ryan said.
“Advertising campaigns over summer will reinforce safety messages to parents, carers and at-risks groups such as Look Before you Leap and Never Swim Alone.
“Children will also benefit from a $1.6 million Coalition Government VICSWIM initiative to make learn-to-swim classes more affordable for families by providing subsidies on lessons,” Mr Ryan said.