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A new national TV campaign from the YMCA (the Y), in partnership with the SBS Foundation, is calling for all Australians, particularly those from Indigenous and culturally diverse communities, to learn to swim.
The 30-second campaign was launched this month on SBS in an attempt to raise awareness about the importance of learning to swim to save lives among our nation's most 'at risk' communities, namely Australia's Indigenous population and new migrants, many of whom have not grown up around open water. These communities are also more likely to be faced with financial and geographic barriers to learning to swim - barriers that need to be broken, according to the Y.
The Y's plea - that it's never too early or too late to learn: swimming is a skill for all ages, genders and ethnicities - echoes that of Royal Life Saving Society Australia which is currently calling for swimming lessons to be compulsory for all school children.
However, the Y believes the need for swimming lessons extends a lot further than among children, with 205 of the 284 drowning deaths in Australia in the year to June 2012 aged 25 and over.
What's more, Indigenous Australians are over three times more likely to drown than other Australians.
'Among Australia's Indigenous and new migrant population, the cost of lessons and the availability of programs and services to suit their cultural needs are resulting in many people going through life without basic swimming skills,' said Phillip Hare, CEO, YMCA of NSW.
'At the Y we strongly believe that swimming cannot be a skill that discriminates.'
The TV campaign will run on SBS until March. The video can be accessed via the link below.