The Minister for Sport Kate Ellis says the Government is devoting $3.3 million to help reduce drownings at coastal danger spots along Australia's coastline.

It's a tragedy that 23 people have died on our coastline this summer. That means scores of families have begun the year without their loved ones, Ms Ellis said.

These tragedies are avoidable and we can all take action to make sure more lives aren't lost in our waters, she said.

The Australian Government is taking action to save lives in the water by investing $3.3 million in Surf Life Saving Australia's Black Spot Program,' Ms Ellis said.

The $3.3 million has been allocated to Surf Life Saving Australia over four years to improve safety at 14 identified black spots across all States and Territories with coastline.

The black spots were identified through the analysis of drowning statistics over five years.

Local solutions implemented this financial year include:

  • the establishment and expansion of local lifeguard patrols
  • community education programs
  • installation of camera surveillance
  • roving surveillance patrols during school holidays
  • radio network upgrades
  • new rescue water craft.

Ten coastal areas have been funded under this program in 2009-10:
Coffs Harbour, Randwick, Broulee, Moreton Island, Alexandrina (SA), Fredrick Henry Bay, Darwin, Yallingup, Kingston (Vic), NSW Far North Coast

The $3.3 million will also see SLSA extend its after-hours emergency response capability to enable the round-the-clock activation of rescue services.

Surf Life Saving Australia will also do Coastal Risk Auditing, which will see detailed assessments made at key locations to check compliance with statutory requirements, adequate signage and appropriate life saving services.

The investment is also supporting SLSA's public education campaigns, including upcoming campaigns targeted at rock fishers and foreign nationals.

Ms Ellis expresses that people need to think about their actions in the water and take action to prevent getting themselves or others into trouble.

The Government has committed about $37 million to an array of national water safety projects under the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008-11.