LIFE Saving Victoria, in partnership with the Venus Bay Surf Life Saving Club, invites Venus Bay residents to attend a community consultation session at the club from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, December 11, to have their say on how to help prevent drownings at local beaches.

Life Saving Victoria general manager health promotion and communication Dr Bernadette Matthews said the session aimed to gather local insights from residents to help inform a three-year drowning prevention project in the region.

“The Gippsland region has been identified as a drowning blackspot location, with a number of fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents and rescues occurring over previous years,” Dr Matthews said.

“In response to this, Life Saving Victoria have received funding to implement a three-year project aiming to reduce the number of coastal drowning incidents, with a specific focus on Venus Bay.

“As the local community are the experts of Venus Bay beaches, we want to ensure that the community is involved in the decision-making phase of this project, which is why we are holding this session.”

The project is currently in its first year, which involves identifying the key risks in, on and around Venus Bay beaches 1 – 5, and determining appropriate water safety and drowning prevention interventions targeting these locations.

Dr Matthews said community consultation was critical to this first stage and aimed to engage with stakeholders and communities within the Venus Bay area to help identify water safety risks and opportunities.

“Through the discussion, attendees will be asked about their perceptions of water safety risks along Venus Bay beaches, as well as who is most at risk and when, and what interventions could enhance water safety before, and during a visit to the beach, as well as if someone gets into trouble at the beach.

“The information gathered in this consultation will be used to inform actions to enhance water safety at Venus Bay.”

To comply with the latest Victorian Government roadmap, all participants aged 12 years and two months and above need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend, or hold a valid exemption as per the Chief Health Officer’s directions. If you require any further information, or have any questions, enquiries, or concerns, please contact the research team at Life Saving Victoria at research@lsv.com.au.