'Not as simple as making lessons mandatory'

State Communities Minister Coralee O'Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government had already worked with Surf Life Saving Queensland on the importance of schools being involved in water safety.

"This is, as has been acknowledged by SLSQ, a community issue and is not as simple as making lessons mandatory at all schools," said the Mundingburra MP.

She said the budget for learn-to-swim grants had been increased by 50 per cent to $1.5 million and 850 Queensland schools already accessed the funding.

Townsville MP Scott Stewart said it was "easy" to say swimming lessons should be compulsory but the logistics of implementing the scheme in Queensland were "difficult".

"Out in the west in particular there are a number of small one-teacher schools and so how do you make it compulsory?" he said.

Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper said his previous experience as a paramedic had taught him the importance of kids learning to swim well before school age.

"Clearly schools play a role, but in the context of my former role, a lot of the cases involving children drowning were actually the younger cohort - pre-school," he said.

Mr Harper said he was concerned compulsory lessons in primary schools could breed complacency among parents.

"Don't wait until they get to school age ... no one wants to see tragedies occur in our pools, homes and beaches because of lack of confidence," he said.



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