9 June, 2023
Locals welcome action on swim lessons
A DECISION by the State Government to provide more than 30,000 vouchers to families experiencing cost-of-living pressures to enable kids to learn how to swim has been welcomed by Member for Hill Shane Knuth.
Those who are eligible will be able to access vouchers valued up to $150 to pay for kids aged 0-4 years to learn how to swim.
Mr Knuth said he was excited by the recent announcement of the SwimStart program because it would improve water safety.
He said he took the issue up in Parliament in March this year after Atherton mum Whitney Michelle approached his office about the cost of swim lessons.
Mr Knuth said he could relate to the difficulties that families faced with the high cost of programs and the long distance those in regional areas were often required to travel.
“I was very pleased to raise this issue and it could mean the difference between life and death,” he said.
“Many families don’t have access to swimming pools and coaches and the cost of travel to teach their children to swim becomes so far out of reach of struggling families.
“This funding will help and encourage families to teach their children to swim because one child’s death is one to many.”
Ms Michelle said she brought the issue to Mr Knuth’s attention after the birth of her first child, Adaline, who is now nine months old.
“A number of years ago there was a scare in our family when a young family member had a close call with drowning,” she said.
“There was a fence around the pool but the child, who was two at the time, managed to open the gate and shortly after was found face down in the pool.
“Thankfully, they were found in time and everything was okay but when I had Adaline I was really worried and approached Mr Knuth’s office to raise the issue.
“We have had Adaline in swimming lessons since she was three months old, and it will be great to see more families get involved now that funding is available for those who need it.”
Ms Michelle said she currently paying $180 per term for swimming lessons and by the time her daughter is five, they will have spent about $7,000.
Mr Knuth said the funding was a step in the right direct and would encourage families to teach their children to swim before school.
Eligible families will be able to apply for vouchers valued up to $150, amounting to a $4.8 million investment over two years from the State Government in the upcoming State Budget.