IGEM’s review of Victoria’s water safety arrangements was completed on 29 August 2023.

This planned review, aimed to identify opportunities to improve the safety of Victorians in and around water.

Why this review?

Victorians and visitors to Victoria enjoy being in, on or around water. Many people spend their leisure time at residential, public and commercial swimming pools, rivers, creeks, lakes and dams, beaches, bays and the ocean to swim, paddle, sail, fish, socialise and play.

There has been steady growth in visitors to parks, piers and beaches over the last 20 years. The easing of COVID-19 restrictions highlighted just how popular beaches are, with more Victorians visiting beaches in 2020–21 than ever before.

The interest in spending time in and around waterways generates economic, social and health benefits however it also increases the risk of fatal drownings and non-fatal incidents that leave people seriously and sometimes permanently injured or impacted.

Sadly, Life Saving Victoria (External link) recently reported Victoria’s worst fatal drowning toll in 20 years. Between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, 61 people drowned – an increase of 40 per cent compared to the 10-year average. Another 104 people were involved in non-fatal drowning incidents attended by paramedics.

What are we doing?

IGEM's review evaluated Victoria’s water safety arrangements to identify opportunities for learning and improvement.

At a broad level, we examined:

  • risk identification, mitigation and control measures
  • drivers of demand for programs and services
  • roles and responsibilities across community, industry and government
  • planning and coordination between stakeholders
  • appropriateness of resourcing and investment.

Ultimately, IGEM wants this review to identify how Victoria can prevent or reduce drowning deaths and aquatic injuries.

The review was completed on 29 August 2023 and will be published on this website subject to the minister's discretion.

Read more about this in IGEM's Annual Forward Plan of Reviews 2022-2023