Mid-North Coast pool operators have welcomed a state government initiative designed to develop preschool-aged children's water safety and swimming skills.
A $44 million program, announced in the NSW Budget, will make a $100 voucher for swimming lessons available to every preschool child aged three to six in the state.
BlueFit CEO Todd McHardy said the state government's targeted approach for preschool-aged kids' swimming lessons was spot on.
"It is great to see the government investing in kids' water safety and our industry in general," he said.
Mr McHardy said the demand for learn to swim lessons across the country was huge and the voucher system would only help further.
"I think water safety is just imperative for our kids, particularly in coastal towns," he said.
BlueFit manages and operates pools at Port Macquarie, Kendall, Laurieton and Wauchope on behalf of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
Y NSW aquatic education coordinator Sharon Bourke said the Active Kids voucher program was extremely popular among Y members and families, so they were pleased to see a further boost specifically to support the lifesaving skill of swimming.
"Over the course of a few years the Mid Coast community has been hit by the bushfires, the COVID shutdown and the floods, with many families profoundly affected," she said.
"This additional support from the NSW government is a good kickstart to try and get kids back in the water to be safe."
Mrs Bourke said the announcement of the $100 voucher for preschool aged children for learn to swim was very welcome, as they prepared for prevention during the winter season to enjoy and ensure a safer and happier summer.
Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre and Great Lakes Aquatic and Leisure Centre are managed by the Y NSW on behalf of MidCoast Council.
Crescent Aquatic Centre managing director/head coach Mason Marchment said they were looking at ways to instil the learn to swim voucher program into the general program at the Crescent Head pool.
"When children learn to swim at that age, they just seem to have an affinity with water forever," he said.
Mr Marchment said learning to swim helped youngsters with their developmental skills and it assisted education-wise too.
Vouchers will be redeemed at registered providers.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said following the success of the Active Kids program, which had seen NSW families save more than $320 million on sport registration fees since its inception, the new learn to swim voucher program would ease cost of living pressures even further.
"Importantly, every parent should enjoy the peace of mind their child will be safe in and around the water, with the new voucher program helping to achieve this," he said.
"Ultimately this is the type of support that will not only save people money, it could help save lives."
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