The Role of Lifesaving in Community Development, experiences from Indigenous
Justin Scarr, The Royal Life Saving Society Australia, Sydney.
Indigenous Australians are up to four times more likely to drown than the mainstream population.
However, when compared to other health, social and economic distress being experienced by
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders lifesaving agencies struggle to attract the attention of
Recent moves by the Australian Government to build swimming pools in remote indigenous
communities, predominately due to well documented health benefits for children and links to
increased school attendance, have created new opportunities to reach communities with drowning
prevention programs. But first lifesaving agencies must be equipped to influence broader health,
social and economic issues.
This paper explores the community development model being used by Royal Life Saving in
communities across Australia. This model turns the humble swimming pool into a venue for the
promotion of a wide range of health issues, leadership development, youth diversion and building
relationships across community members and support agencies.
This paper will outline the opportunity to broaden the scope of lifesaving and lifesaving agencies
whilst maintaining an eye on drowning prevention.
Corresponding author :
Name Justin Scarr, Chief Operating Officer, The Royal Life Saving Society Australia
Address Suite 6 Level 4, 173-179 Broadway (cnr Mountain St) Broadway NSW 2007
+61 2 8217 3199
Name Rob Bradley, Chief Executive Officer, RLSSA
Name Richard Franklin, National Manager – Research and Health Promotion, RLSSA