The Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) was officially formed in February 1998 as a result of strong industry consultation and with the support of the then Federal Minister for Sport & Tourism, The Honourable Andrew Thomson MP. The Council acts as a consultative forum comprising the major water safety and related government agencies and focuses on the presentation of key water safety issues to governments, industry and the community.
The Australian Water Safety Council does not represent an additional layer of organisational bureaucracy and does not receive funding directly. The Council provides a collective voice for its member organisations. It liaises closely with kindred bodies at State, National & International levels.
The AWSC is committed to improving Water Safety in Australia as demonstrated through the production and implementation of three National Water Safety Plans. These plans have generated bipartisan support for Water Safety in Australia and have seen the improvement of Water Safety throughout the country. The AWSC member bodies continue to demonstrate their commitment to Water Safety by directing resources of their respective organisations towards the development and implementation of the Australian Water Safety Strategy.
Background - Water Safety Conferences/Workshops
The AWSC have undertaken seven Water Safety Conferences:
- 5 May 1998 at the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre
- 22 November 2000 at Canberra Convention Centre
- 22-23 September 2003 at Bondi in Sydney
- 17-18 August 2006 at the Holiday Inn Surfers Paradise Queensland
- 15-16 May 2008 at the Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour Sydney
- 13-14 May 2010 at the Novotel Hotel Brighton Le Sands Sydney
- 4-5 June 2012 at the Novotel Hotel Brighton Le Sands Sydney
All conferences involved a broad cross-section of the Australian Water Safety Community which included representatives of government departments, agencies and statutory authorities from throughout Australia.
The recommendations and spirit of cooperation engendered at the Conference in September 2003 was incorporated into the 2004-2007 National Water Safety Plan which was released in September 2004.
Recommendations from the 2006 Conference and the AWSC Planning Workshop held in 2007, were used as the basis for the development of the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008-2011.
The Australian Water Safety Council officially released the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012-2015 at the Conference in 2012, which aims to reduce drowning deaths across Australia by 50% by 2020 with the ultimate aim of achieving a nation free from drowning.
Senator the Honourable Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport; Minister for Multicultural Affairs; Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation - attended the conference and welcomed the release of the Strategy.
Rob Bradley Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) Convenor said, “There’s so much work to be done. Since 2008 Australia has experienced a concerning increase in drowning deaths across a range of demographics, locations and activities. The 2012-15 Strategy focuses on prevention strategies to reduce drowning deaths in inland waterways, to reduce the number of people aged over 55 who are drowning and reduce the impact of disaster and extreme weather on drowning deaths.
“The Australian Water Safety Council is deeply committed to drowning prevention in Australia and is a collective voice for Australia’s leading water safety organisations. It’s all about taking action to reduce drowning in partnership with government, the industry and the community.”