Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 October 2022) . . Page.. 2960 ..
speak with current facility operators to see how they can accommodate community needs. Therefore, I look forward to hearing that those straightforward discussions with pool operators about scheduling and accessibility arrangements have resulted in the introduction of solutions for the community.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (3.24): I, too, want to thank Mr Braddock for bringing this motion to the Assembly. It calls for the ACT government to support more gender-specific swimming programs and more inclusive swimming programs across the ACT. It is something that the government has been implementing for some time. In fact, I recall that when I was Minister for Multicultural Affairs, we had a women’s swimming program at a private pool. Unfortunately, the pool ended up closing down, so the program could not continue; however, since then we have had the 2019 program, which is about providing access for migrant and refugee families to use these facilities. The program also accommodates practices that uphold their community values.
It is something that the Minister for Multicultural Affairs Tara Cheyne and I will be working very carefully on in engaging with the multicultural community, particularly women and girls, making sure that they have access to pools that meet with their community values but also provide opportunities for women and girls in multicultural communities who might not ordinarily get the chance to have same-gender swimming lessons. We provided that opportunity during October. Unfortunately, as has been noted, we could not continue that trial or any further activities as a result of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, further consideration of this program in ACT government-owned schools is being considered, and we will work with the operators to conduct a further trial of gender-specific and inclusive swim times. Since the trial was conducted in 2019, there have been new options and models that can be considered. More analysis is needed of more sustainable options, such as holding sessions at a pool facility of a smaller size.
The ACT government has continued to support stakeholder groups, though, through ACT Sport and Recreation’s funding of initiatives such as the Refugee and Migrant Swimming Project. It is a Royal Life Saving Society initiative which received $5,500 to deliver a 10-week program at the Gungahlin Leisure Centre between February and May 2022, with 20 cultural and linguistically diverse participants attending. Two more programs are planned to be hosted in the latter half of this year, with another 20 CALD participants anticipated to attend both of these programs. In addition to the swimming program, Royal Life Saving is providing a one-day workshop at the Cotter River, educating participants about swimming and safety at the inland river, and providing CPR training to all participants.
Muslim Sisters to ACTion—MustACT—received $10,000 to run a female spring swimming project. The program started in September 2022 and will run to December 2022. This program will target women from CALD backgrounds and will be hosted at Aquatots pool in Gold Creek, with women-only access times. The program is being delivered on a Saturday afternoon and the aim is to target between 70 and 100 participants. I look forward to seeing the success of that program.