‘First Lap’ swim program extended to kids in Cootamundra electorate

The NSW Government’s new learn to swim program will be expanded from preschool aged children to include kindergarten kids who missed out on lessons due to COVID restrictions.

Under the ‘First Lap’ program, eligible children from the Cootamundra region can access a $100 voucher for swimming lessons with an approved provider, with businesses able to register for it next month.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke, welcomed the program to the region.

“Every child in our area should have the opportunity to learn how to be safe around water, especially with the wide range of waterways around,” Ms Cooke said.

“This program will help teach young children essential safety skills from one of our skilled swimming instructors in our region.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the program, which starts December 1, would be extended to cover children in kindergarten this year, or who are starting kindergarten in 2022.

“Because of COVID restrictions, our kindy kids have missed a crucial window of being able to develop the skills they need to stay safe in the water,” Mr Perrottet said.

“It’s really important they don’t miss out, so we’re making sure they can also access the First Lap voucher program now that our pools are back open for lessons.”

Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the NSW Government will invest $54 million over two years in the program, which will also ease cost of living pressures for families.

“Summer in Australia is all about swimming, at your local pool, beach or river. We know families have been doing it tough during the COVID lockdown and the First Lap program will also ensure family budgets aren’t stretched so our kids have these crucial,” Mrs Ward said.

The vouchers can be downloaded by families from Service NSW soon.

New Dine and Discover vouchers coming soon

Customers in the Cootamundra electorate will have more reasons to celebrate catching up with friends and family this summer with two additional Dine & Discover vouchers up for grabs for NSW residents.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the expanded program will support residents across the community and encourage economic activity as part of the government’s economic recovery strategy.

“This is about encouraging people to get out and have a meal or spend the day discovering their community while supporting businesses,” Ms Cooke said.

“The additional $250 million investment by the NSW Government will help businesses recover from months of restrictions and encourage people to enjoy what they love most.

“We experienced the success of the Dine & Discover program when the vouchers first came out earlier this year, which is why we are doubling down efforts with an additional two $25 vouchers – one for Dine and one for Discover venues.

“We are backing our businesses and helping hip pockets by expanding the program, in addition to extending existing vouchers until the end of June 2022.”

The vouchers would again be delivered via the ServiceNSW app.

“You’ll find them in your ServiceNSW app in time for summer or you can contact ServiceNSW and they can send them to you,” Ms Cooke said.

“To date, almost 4.8 million people have taken advantage of the voucher program since its launch in March, giving businesses a $430 million boost.”

NSW residents aged 18 years and over who are yet to apply will be able to do so until the program ends and will receive all six $25 vouchers.

Participating businesses do not need to reapply. Those who want to join the program are encouraged to register, download the scanner app and get ready to redeem.

More information will be made available in the coming weeks on the nsw.gov.au website.