Royal Life Saving NSW will be offering swimming lessons for up to1,000 children who live in communities with the highest drowning risk in the state and experience barriers to participating in swimming lessons, with the launch of Project Harmony.

The $100,000 joint initiative funded by the NSW Government in collaboration with local governments in Western Sydney, local pools and community leaders, offers swimming lessons to children aged three to six years who are not enrolled in school– some will be from multicultural families who may be experiencing swimming lessons for the very first time.

Families that have not used their child’s First Lap voucher can participate in the program free of charge after redeeming their voucher and community leaders will support families on how to apply their voucher. Families of children that have redeemed their voucher can participate in the program for $50.

Families and community organisations can find out where Project Harmony programs are being offered and how to access their lessons at 

Tips for adults on how to be better prepared to enjoy the water are also available in seven priority languages at

Blacktown, Camden, Cumberland, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta and The Hills are the seven local government areas supporting the Royal Life Saving Project Harmony lessons, to be delivered by 14 partner pools across Western Sydney.

Royal Life Saving NSW CEO Michael Ilinsky said Project Harmony directly addresses a critical gap in swimming and water-safety skills and a worrying disparity in the uptake of participation.

“Long-term drowning data shows eight of the 12 local government areas in Australia suffering the worst rate of drowning deaths are in Western Sydney, which suffered 196 drowning deaths over 10 years to 2021 – 57 per cent were born overseas.

“With above average rates of drowning deaths in recent years we are concerned about the next generation of non-swimmers. Recent registrations for swimming lessons have dropped by as much as 15 per cent, and uptake of the First Lap vouchers has been lower in the very areas where drowning numbers have spiked, indicating greater barriers to entry.

“With this support from the seven local councils, and funding support from the NSW Government, we can remove the financial burden of swimming lessons, and with the tireless efforts of community leaders we’re able to overcome other issues including transport, childcare, language or cultural barriers.

“Project Harmony is part of our 130-year history of providing provide a strong start towards a lifelong, and potentially lifesaving, skill.” Mr Ilinsky said.

Project Harmony was launched by the Member for Liverpool Charishma Kaliyanda, CEO of Multicultural NSW Joseph La Posta.

Mr La Posta said: “Multicultural communities are particularly vulnerable, with 35 per cent of people born overseas identifying as poor or non-swimmers,” Multicultural NSW CEO, Joseph La Posta said.

Source: Royal Life Saving