New website launches in Water Safety Week

New website launches in Water Safety Week

A new website launched in Water Safety Week (December 7 to 14) offers crucial water safety tips to help save lives this summer as people head to Sydney’s beaches and waterways.

The website and the week are the work of South East Sydney Multicultural Water Safety Committee, a group consisting of water safety education organisations, local councils, education providers, and local community service providers.

The Water Safety Directory Website shares a wealth of water safety messages on its homepage and offers a search function, which allows people to select the type of resource they are after (online, flyers, or courses) and filter according to language, location, and type. 

The site was put together by a team of UTS students who volunteered as part of the UTS Shopfront program. Individuals and organisations can still submit relevant resources to be included in the site through a form on the homepage.

Jenny Tang, Community Development Worker at Advance Diversity Services (ADS), said the website grew from a directory, first published in 2018, which helped workers to understand what resources around water safety were available to multicultural communities, and where the gaps were.

‘This multicultural focus is still important given that two populations identified to be at greater risk for drowning are ethnic minority populations and migrants.

‘The website is vital in helping service providers and community groups to find appropriate aquatic services and water safety resources for the communities they work with.’

Water Safety Week gives culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, a chance to hear from fishing, boating and water safety experts about a range of topics, including rock fishing and fishing safety, staying safe in boats, identifying dangers and hazards at the beach, spotting and surviving rip currents, and more.

Salvin Kumar, Youth Worker at ADS, said the timing of the week-long event was important because Royal Life Saving research shows that the largest number of drowning deaths occur in the summer months and that there is an increased risk of drowning during public holidays and school holidays.

‘We also know drowning deaths mostly occur during recreational or leisure activities,’ he said.

‘Our aim is to increase awareness and education to ensure people know how to enjoy the water safely, and to respond appropriately if someone’s in trouble.’

Water Safety Week sessions are free online via zoom. Participants can register using the link in the flyer on the ADS Facebook page

The session on Thursday December 10 will be offered in English in the morning and then in Arabic in the afternoon. Details of the Arabic session will be sent to participants who register and identify Arabic as their language spoken at home.

Additional background …

Water Safety Week is a collaboration between: Advance Diversity Services (ADS), Asian Women at Work Inc, Bayside Council, Department of Primary Industries, Georges River Council, Gymea Community Aid and Information Service, Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, Royal Life Saving New South Wales, Surf Life Saving New South Wales, Sutherland Shire Council, Transport for NSW and Waverley Council. 

The South East Sydney Multicultural Water Safety Committee includes representatives from Surf Life Saving NSW, Royal Life Saving NSW, Randwick City, Waverley, Bayside, Georges River, Sutherland Shire Councils, ADS, Gymea Community Aid and Information Service, Kogarah Community Services and TAFE NSW.

The committee was an initiative of the St George Multicultural Network and led by ADS to address growing concerns about drownings among newly arrived community members, and based on a similar group in the Illawarra. It has gradually grown as a grassroots initiative and is now led by Surf Life Saving NSW and Royal Life Saving NSW, who have replicated this model across two other parts of Sydney. A NSW-wide network has also been developed. This shows the strength of local community organisations like ADS to kick start action around emerging issues.

Wendy Huang awarded Volunteer of the Year for Banks

Wendy Huang awarded Volunteer of the Year for Banks

Wendy Huang from Advance Diversity Services’ (ADS’s) Rockdale Office has been chosen as a volunteer of the Year in the Banks Volunteer Awards 2020.

Federal Member for Banks, David Coleman MP, presented Ms Huang with her award on November 13 in a COVID-safe event at Olds Park Sports Club in Beverly Hills (the ceremony was broken into four half-hour events across the day).

Ms Huang works three days a week for ADS as a receptionist and admin clerk and also volunteers as a coordinator for ADS’ Learn to Drive Program.

CEO Antoinette Chow said ADS had nominated Ms Huang for the award for her outstanding contributions to local newly-arrived families, aged and disability services, and especially for her coordination of the Learn to Drive Program, which helps newly arrived migrants and refugees gain confidence behind the wheel.

‘The program provides English-language driving support and driving practise with volunteer mentors for learner drivers to help them obtain their NSW driving licences,’ Ms Chow said. ‘Wendy works with a team to make it all happen. We are so grateful for her enthusiasm and expertise.’

Migrant Information Day heads online in 2020

Migrant Information Day heads online in 2020

Health services, councils, community service providers, government agencies and utility providers are taking their messages for migrants online in a first for the St George region.

Migrant Information Day (MID) has been an annual event in St George for more than 20 years featuring stalls, activities and multicultural performances.

However, this year, when the coronavirus pandemic dashed hopes of holding the event face-to-face, its organisers had to think laterally.

The result is an online video festival, to commence on November 9, which will help newly arrived migrants and refugees find the support they need to settle effectively.

‘This year has forced us all to think of new ways to connect with the community,’ said Jenny Tang, Community Development Worker at Advance Diversity Services (ADS). ‘Happily, these new methods have also opened up opportunities for us and made our services and communities more resilient and adaptable.

‘One positive development has been gathering short videos from local agencies that offer insights into their services.’

Ms Tang explained that a number of community service providers, including ADS, had for the first time focused their attention on online marketing and invested money to create new videos to adapt to the lack of face-to-face promotional opportunities available.

The MID committee supported these marketing initiatives through the provision of subsidies.

‘This first-time video-fest is the fruit of these efforts,’ Ms Tang said. ‘A promotional blitz in November and early December will help to ensure the videos reach newly arrived refugees and migrants.’

Local services in the line-up include ADS, Kogarah Community Services, Rockdale Children and Families Hub, St George Community Transport and 3 Bridges Community. The South Eastern Sydney Local Area Health District and the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service have also provided videos which cover COVID-safe information, Quitline, the Liver Clinic, and mental health services.

Migrant Information Online videos can be accessed through a single convenient link on YouTube ( and the videos will be available for one year.

The MID committee is comprised of representatives from Bayside Council, Georges River Council, Kogarah Community Services, Advance Diversity Services, TAFE NSW, South East Sydney Local Health District, Services Australia and St George Police Area Command.

ADS Facebook link: