1068. Hon COLIN TINCKNELL to the Minister for Education and
I am sure the minister will be
pleased to answer this question as well!
Last year, there were 276 drownings
in Australia, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year. Statistics show
that people are 2.3 times more likely to drown in remote and regional areas
than elsewhere in Australia.
(1) Given these
startling facts, what is the government doing to ensure that the residents of
the 11 towns excluded from this summer's country early start program
will receive the same opportunities to learn to swim as the rest of the
children in the state?
(2) As VacSwim
fees have already increased from $13.50 to $30 per child, an increase of over
120 per cent, does the government plan to offer some form of compensation or
discount to these families as an acknowledgement of the additional financial
burden placed on them to travel back and forth to another town for the duration
of the seven-day program; and, if not, why not?
I thank the
honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1) The country
early start program usually runs in the week between school finishing and
effectively the Christmas holidays. It is a five-day program. This year there
are only three days between when school finishes and Christmas celebrations
begin. I asked the department to ensure that we can bring the country early
start program forward and do it in the last full week of school. I am delighted
to advise the honourable member that the Department of Education has liaised
with the local schools and venues in these 11 locations and they will now be
offering an afternoon program in each location from 16 to 20 December 2019.
Registrations are now open and parents can apply online.
(2) The Department
of Education is providing a local VacSwim program in all locations in which the
country early start program is usually offered, so this is not required.