Opposition leader Bill Shorten took to Cudgen Headland yesterday to promise a new federal learn-to-swim plan for children… and there was not a pair of budgie smugglers in sight.
He was joined by shadow sports minister Jim Chalmers and Richmond MP Justine Elliot at the beach for the announcement. All were fully clad.
The Labor leader also said that, if elected, his government would allocate $1 million towards a major upgrade of the Kingscliff sports complex.
Mr Shorten said Labor would invest in a $40.9 million federal Water Safe program ‘to give our children the skills they need to confidently navigate water safety.’
He said many Australian children were not receiving essential instruction in swimming and water safety, adding that in some states and territories there is still no school-delivered swimming and water safety program.
‘Studies have consistently shown a concerning trend in children starting secondary school without the ability to swim. One study found that three out of five children left primary school without basic swimming ability,’ Mr Shorten said.
‘Research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are also less likely to achieve identified benchmarks for water safety competence compared to non-Indigenous students,’ he added.
‘Water Safe will help ensure Aussie kids know how to have fun and stay safe around the water.’
He said Labor’s $40.9 million election promise would support the states and territories ‘to ensure every student has access to a swimming and water safety program.’
$1 million for Kingscliff sports field
The media caravan then moved on to nearby Walter Peate Field to announce that, if elected, Labor would give $1 million towards implementation of stage one of the Kingscliff Sport and Recreation Complex Masterplan.
Tweed Shire Council would contribute $322,000 of its own money towards the project.
Tweed GM Troy Green warmly welcomed the offer, saying the upgrade would ‘improve the lives of our current and future Tweed Coast residents’.
‘The well-loved Kingscliff Sport and Recreation Complex currently plays host to a range of sports – rugby league, football, Oztag, cricket, Little Athletics and hockey. There is an opportunity to significantly enhance the capacity of this facility to meet the needs of the sporting community and also the recreational needs of nearby residents and visitors,’ he said.
‘Consultation with the sports clubs and the community for a Master Plan for the Kingscliff Sport and Recreation Complex confirmed that the facilities and layout are inadequate, don’t cater for future sports needs and contribute to creating conflict between sports.
‘Following adoption of the Master Plan by Council in March last year, we’re all in agreement as a community about what needs to be done – we just don’t have the funds to do it.
‘Today’s announcement is great news for the host of sporting clubs who use these facilities, those who play the sport and the mums and dads who support their kids each game or get out themselves to stay fit and active,’ Mr Green said.
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