Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Griffith will have greater access to swimming lessons thanks to new Government funding, Member for Murray Austin Evans said.

Mr Evans said the Bambigi Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation were awarded $21,600 from the NSW Government’s Water Safety Fund Community Grants Program to improve swimming skills and survival techniques for more than 100 local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Started by Piper Stewart when she was 12 years old – Bambigi is such an impressive grassroots organisation doing some wonderful work to support local kids,” Mr Evans said.

“With 36 drownings last summer alone, the last thing anyone wants to see is another tragedy for a family this summer.”

The grant will support programs for pre-school and primary school-aged children in the Griffith region.

“This is about improving access, and making sure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the area can come along and learn a life-long and life-saving skill to help stay safe around the water,” Mr Evans said.

Bambigi Founder Piper Stewart said she was very excited to receive the grant and thanked Mr Evans and the NSW Government.

“I am very passionate about improving the swimming skills and survival techniques of our community and this project will give over 100 local children the chance to do that,” Miss Piper said.

“I am really keen to expand this project to other areas around Griffith and am currently working on achieving this”.

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said this is one of a number of programs being funded by the Government to improve water safety and ultimately save lives.

“With the tragic drowning toll continuing to confront communities, it was clear that we as a Government needed to look at new and creative ways to keep people safe,” Mr Grant said.

“This fund is often about tapping into some brilliant local assets to boost programs and other resources produced in the community, and most importantly, for the community.”

The Bambigi team welcomed the Government funding and said it would go a long way in delivering more programs for kids in Griffith.

The Water Safety Fund Community Grants Program prioritises initiatives that target high-risk groups and locations, identified in research undertaken by Royal Life Saving Society Australia.

For more information on the grant application process or the NSW Be Water Safe. Not Sorry water safety campaign, visit: www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au