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Water safety campaigns ‘not showing migrant faces’ failing to reach those at risk

November 5th, 2019 | | industry

Migrants and international students are the targets of a new water safety video that aims to reduce drowning deaths along the Australian coastline.

Key points:

  • The Turbans-4-Australia charity is launching a new water safety campaign targeting migrant communities
  • Founder Amar Singh is lobbying all levels of government to broadcast it widely, including as part of visa applications
  • According to Royal Life Saving Society data, 794 people who drowned in Australian waterways in the past decade were born overseas

The educational video has been produced by Sikh charity Turbans-4-Australia to highlight the dangers of rips and the need to swim between the flags.

The charity’s founder, Amar Singh, said not enough was being done to reach the individuals and communities most at risk of drowning.

“A lot of the water safety awareness campaigns are not showing any migrant faces and I think this is key,” Mr Singh said.

“More people will watch it when they see somebody from their own country or ethnic background.

“Right now, we’ve made it in one language, which is Punjabi, but we hope to get more funding support from state and federal governments to put it out there in multiple languages.”

Calls to include video in visa process

Mr Singh said he would like to see the safety message broadcast widely and has lobbied the Government to include it as part of the Commonwealth visa process.

“I would like to see the video played on aeroplanes, national TV, and when people apply for a visa they get a link in their own language that says, ‘please, make sure you watch this’,” he said.

“In advertising tourism there’s always something about water, the beach, fishing, boating or just the natural wonders that Australia has to offer, being the waterways.

An older man, wearing a turban and sporting a long a grey and black beard, speaks into a microphone.

PHOTO: Turbans-4-Australia charity founder, Amar Singh wants the water safety campaign video to be used as part of visa applications. (Supplied: Amar Singh)

“So why aren’t we doing more to address the issue of drowning and people losing their lives?”

According to the 2019 Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report, in the past 10 years, 794 people who drowned in Australian waterways were born overseas.

Julia Kiss from Surf Life Saving NSW said the needs of migrant communities were not being met when it came to water safety education.

“What we’ve been doing in the past has not been successful and meaningful for these diverse cultures,” Ms Kiss said.

“It’s just not hitting the mark.

“Not only do we not have enough resources and media in their languages, but it’s the actual content.

“What is meaningful to them is very different to what is meaningful to the standard Australia who has been around the surf and ocean for years.”

Red and yellow flags confusing

Ms Kiss said many cultures had difficulty understanding iconic symbols of safety, particularly on Australian beaches.

“The more that we’ve been working with these communities, we’re realising just how different the meaning of the red and yellow flags can be,” she said.

“We’ve had some cultures tell us that they think the flags mean that if you can’t swim confidently, then you need to swim outside of the flags.”

Generic surf lifesaving flag against a blue sky

PHOTO: Surf Life Saving Australia is considering new safety gear in response to the coroner’s recommendations over the death of Sydney ironman Saxon Bird. (Andrew Gray: ABC TV)

Surf Life Saving NSW is now working closely with Turbans-4-Australia to better engage refugee and migrant communities across Australia.

“We just need so much more reach, so it is really important for the Government to back these campaigns,” Ms Kiss said.

“What would be helpful is for the Government to assist and make sure that we can put the resources that we’re creating into places where we know that migrants and refugees will see it.”

The Word, publishing and distribution company in Sydney recently ran a double page spread with Surf Life Saving NSW in the Summer edition of the Aussie Guide.

The Aussie Guide is distributed to hostels and international student colleges in Sydney and the campaign highlights the need to ‘Swim between the flags’ as well as ‘7 Summer Safety Tips’.

Source: ABC

Sourced by Mike Barrow