Swim Smart


Swim Smart

A Shorten Labor Government will make sure Australian children have access to swimming and water safety lessons in primary school. 

In 2017-18, nearly 250 people drowned in Australian waterways. One in five drownings were people under the age of 25. We want to make sure Australian children are strong swimmers and safe in the water.  

Currently, access to school-based swimming lessons is inconsistent, with access depending on the location, type of school and whether their parents can afford private lessons. Currently, about one in five children leave primary school unable to swim 50 metres. 

This is unfair and unsafe. We don’t want children to miss out. 


From the 2020 school year, we will fund additional swimming lessons for schools that need it, catch-up lessons for children needing extra support, and more support for the cost of transport and pool entry fees. Labor will work with States and Territories, Catholic and Independent schools to deliver the program to schools who require extra support. We will also work with local government, swim schools and lifesaving clubs to help ensure students have access. 

The program will also provide additional support to children with disability, to ensure they can participate in water safety and learn to swim programs just like their classmates. 

This policy will have a budget cost of $64 million over the forward estimates and will be in addition to existing State and Territory programs. 

We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.