Making a Splash: ACT Greens Call for Inclusive Swimming


ACT Greens Member for Yerrabi, Andrew Braddock MLA will next week be calling on the ACT Government to provide inclusive swimming timetables for gender-specific and gender-diverse community members. 

“Swimming is part of the Australian way of life and a vital life skill. But some struggle to access a safe, culturally appropriate, and inclusive swimming environment,” Mr Braddock said.

Recent evidence has found that female members of multicultural communities benefit from being empowered to improve their swimming ability and water safety knowledge in gender specific, and less populated swimming environments.

The ACT Greens’ call has followed extensive consultation with multicultural and LGBTQIA+ organisations which have argued that inclusive swimming times will create a safe space for these marginalised groups.

Earlier this year in Sydney, the Ashfield Aquatic Centre also implemented a gender-diverse swim night for members of the LGBTQIA+ community which was found to have been an effective method at promoting inclusion and turnout. 

Previously consulted were various stakeholders, including Royal Life Saving Australia, Refugee and Migrant Swim Program, Canberra Multicultural Forum, A Gender Agenda, and was an ACT Greens election commitment. 

The ACT Government owns and contracts out management of many public swimming pools and each of these should be guided by a common policy that embeds inclusive schedules as a standard.” Mr Braddock added.

It’s clear some community members currently do not use our public pools due to religious reasons or concerns about accessing a safe, respectful and supportive swimming environment.

Community organisations have thrown their support behind the reform:

Jenni Shoring, Acting Executive Director of A Gender Agenda said:

“Providing swimming times for trans and gender diverse people would increase the availability of swimming to a number of people in our community, who normally have concerns about safety and gender dysphoria, enabling them to enjoy an activity that has great benefits from an exercise and mental health perspective.”

Nishi Puri, President of the Multicultural Association of Canberra said:

“Women only sessions will provide a space where women can feel comfortable and enjoy the benefits of swimming or learning to swim. This will reduce social and cultural barriers, particularly for women from migrant communities.”

Andrew Braddock MLA is available for comment.


Research shows that people born overseas represent 47% of the entire coastal drowning death toll in Australia between 2004 and 2021.Link

“Multicultural communities in Australia present specific risk factors such as low swimming ability, water safety knowledge, experience, familiarity with the Australian coastal environment, and low levels of hazard awareness and risk perception. Other significant risk factors include varying cultural and religious beliefs and values.”Link

“The binaried cultures and practices of sport and PE are known to struggle with, and are hostile towards, transgender and non-binary bodies and this impacts transgender and non-binary participation. In turn, non-participation can mean missing out on the wellbeing benefits of physical activity.”Link