A SWIMMING access and equity program has been launched at Balga to combat a rise in drowning deaths among people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.
The Royal Life Saving Society WA and the Office of Multicultural Interests announced the Swim and Survive Access and Equity program at Leisurepark Balga this month.
According to the Royal Life Saving Society, recent WA drowning data showed over the last five years, 36 per cent of people who drowned were born overseas and 58 per cent of these were from a non-English speaking background.
Twenty-one per cent of the drowning deaths were new arrivals in WA who had limited water safety knowledge and swimming skills.
Chief executive Peter Leaversuch said many people from CaLD communities never had the opportunity to participate in such programs.
“Our concern is that too many people from CaLD communities are not participating in these programs and therefore not gaining the swimming and survival skills to participate safely, and that needs to change,” he said.
“This program aims to break down barriers to participation amongst CaLD communities such as cost and access to culturally appropriate venues and programs.”
Office of Multicultural Interests executive director Rebecca Ball said swim and survival programs helped families adjust to life in a new country and to swim safely.