04 April 2019

Mayoral Column

Council and the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia - NSW Branch have teamed up to help inform the local community about the dangers around local waterways and other water sources.

I hope this initiative will help reduce the increasing drowning toll in NSW. In 2017/18, 87 people drowned in NSW, the highest number of any state or territory.

The majority of fatal and non-fatal drownings occur in natural and unsupervised water bodies, as people are often unaware of risk factors such as changing currents; a swimmer’s age and experience, submerged items such as logs, varying water depths; crumbling and uneven banks, cold water, lack of supervision and the consumption of alcohol or other drugs. To be safe around rivers, never swim alone; wear a life jacket; avoid alcohol or other drugs and learn how to save a life. For river safety fact sheets go to www.royallifesaving.com.au/programs/respect-the-river

Council will review signage at popular swimming spots in the Hawkesbury, including considering signs in languages other than English. This was resolved at a recent Council Meeting on the motion of Councillor Danielle Wheeler and seconded by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett.

Council staff have also met with the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia - NSW Branch and NSW Police recently about preventing drownings in the Hawkesbury. Council is seeking feedback from the NSW Government and the Royal Life Saving Society - NSW Branch about how the recommendations from the 2017 ‘Respect the Rivers’ Report can be implemented in the Hawkesbury. Council is also in discussion with both organisations about the options for installing rescue equipment, running community education events and other opportunities for Council involvement.

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