Labor promises swimming lessons

TODDLERS have been promised a kickstart to developing their water skills.

Every toddler in Queensland will be eligible for free swimming lessons under a new Labor government, Premier Anna Bligh announced yesterday.

Ms Bligh said her $77.4 million Water Babies plan would offer 10 free swimming lessons for up to 400,000 Queensland children aged under four over the next three years.

"Drowning is the leading accidental cause of death for children aged one to four years, accounting for 15 deaths in Queensland in the last two years," she said.

"And it's estimated that for every child taken to hospital emergency departments, there are 10 near misses.

"In much of Queensland being able to swim well is just about as important as learning to walk.

"With this policy we want to give every child a chance at those good foundations in the water. We also want to ease the cost of living on young families and encourage further swimming lessons for children."

Ms Bligh said participating 'water babies' would learn water familiarisation, buoyancy and mobility skills as well as general water safety and survival skills.

The value of the 10 free lessons is $170 at the industry average of $17 per lesson, funded from GST allocation.


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