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Teaching our multicultural kids to swim and cycle safely

Children newly arrived in Australia will benefit under the Liberals and Nationals’ Water Safety and Cycling program, offering a novel holiday activity program to introduce newly arrived migrant and refugee children to these core activities. In addition, pre-school aged children will be offered vouchers for swimming lessons.

Designed as a week-long school holiday program in January, it will be tailored to meet the needs and different age groups for culturally and linguistically diverse children in primary and secondary school. This includes classes to become familiar and comfortable with being in water, water safety, beach safety, introductory strokes and learn to ride a bike.


For youngest arrivals, swimming lesson vouchers will be available to pre-school aged children for two terms, equal to the value of the cost of the program.

Within each program there is the opportunity to work with multicultural centres to ensure there are community youth leaders involved in each program, as well as with surf lifesaving clubs, local swim centres and local activity providers.


Too often children of migrant families are not given the opportunity to learn to swim or ride a bike due to personal cost, time, and lack of confidence around water.

This initiative is also designed to address the high drowning statistics, with 57 migrant drownings in Australia each year, by teaching children water safety, and introducing them to popular activities.

Shadow Minster for Sport, Cindy McLeish said by reducing the financial barrier parents may face and improving confidence around the water and bike riding, we can give kids a chance to learn to swim safely and cycle who may not have had the opportunity before.

“Our Water Safety and Cycling program will help children develop of a sense of community, sport participation and increase social skills. It will be a beneficial way for both children and their parents to integrate into the community.”

“We want kids that arrive in Australia to have fun and participate actively in activities many Aussie kids are involved in.”

“Within each program there is the opportunity to work with multicultural centres to ensure there are community youth leaders involved in each program, as well as with surf lifesaving clubs, local swim centres and local activity providers.”


The budgeted cost of the Liberals and Nationals’ Water Safety and Cycling program is $500,000 over a two-year trial.

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