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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 6 Hansard (12 May) . .

Page.. 1581..

The children's classroom teachers will be supported through the provision of a teacher resource as a second component of the water safety and awareness program. Professional learning delivered by experts will support classroom teachers to deliver five lessons about high risk aquatic locations, to reinforce and further develop students' knowledge and awareness. Lesson content will be linked to "Australian curriculum: health and physical education" and incorporate water safety at home; water safety at the pool; safe behaviour and equipment for use at the beach; and staying safe in, around and on inland waterways, including creeks, rivers, lakes and dams. Teachers will have the necessary flexibility to deliver each lesson at an appropriate time and pace to suit the needs of their students.

As I stated earlier, I am steadfast in my commitment to implementing this significant and important initiative to ensure that children in the Canberra community have the skills, knowledge and understanding to enjoy water-based activities, recognise risk in aquatic environments and avoid danger to prevent drowning.

The ACT government will provide funding support of over half a million dollars over three years to ensure that all year 2 students can access the water safety and awareness program. A modest parents' contribution will be capped at $50 per child, which is approximately 50 per cent of the total cost of the program per student. Schools will be able to draw on equity funds and student support funds to assist the children of families in need.

It is my firm belief that capacity to pay should in no way prevent any child from achieving a level of proficiency in swimming and accessing a quality water safety and awareness education program. Likewise, I am committed to access for all students, regardless of their background or ability. Appropriate adjustments will be made to the components of the program to ensure that all year 2 students may participate and benefit.

Involvement in physical activity and the development of a child's knowledge and understanding in the primary years has a lifelong impact. The value of a comprehensive water safety and awareness program delivered during this important stage of a child's development cannot be underestimated. It is my view that the development of water safety skills and awareness is a vital and necessary element of a holistic education that promotes and safeguards the wellbeing of our children and young people and prepares them to lead happy, healthy and productive lives. It is my wish, and I am sure it is one that all here share, that this new program will serve our children well, giving them the skills necessary to be confident and safe around our waterways.

I present the following paper:

Water Safety and Awareness Program—Ministerial statement, 12 May 2015.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

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