Moreland City Council in Melbourne has launched a new communication tool aimed at teaching water safety to newly arrived migrants and refuges.

Last year more than 300 people drowned in Australia, raising the death toll for the seventh year in a row.

While state and federal organisations are targeting children and the elderly, the water safety message has proven difficult to communicate to newly-arrived migrants, some of whom struggle with the English language.

Believing education to be key to reducing water-related injuries and fatalities, the state government has produced the Water Safety CALD COM Storyboard; a resource that breaks through the language barrier.

The State Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Nicholas Kotsiras, attended the launch of the storyboard on Tuesday, congratulating Moreland City Council on this “creative and vital initiative”.

Mr Kotsiras said he hoped other councils and service providers would adopt the initiative as part of their approach to communicating with diverse communities throughout Victoria.

“Tourists and new migrants are particularly vulnerable to water hazards and everyone needs to learn the safety precautions which many Australians take for granted,” Mr Kotsiras said.

“Engaging with our culturally and linguistically diverse communities is a moral imperative when it concerns an issue of public safety so we are pleased to be launching this innovative communication tool that breaks through the language barrier.”

The latest CALD COM Storyboard, Water Safety, appeals to non-English speaking people to enjoy the water but to do it responsibly and safely.

“In Moreland almost half of our population speaks one of 132 different languages at home and it is almost impossible to translate the water safety message to everyone but this does exactly that,”

Moreland Mayor Cr Oscar Yildiz said, adding, “it is alarming to see new migrants and refugees drown because of a lack of information so this is a way to reach them and let them know about the dangers of pools, beaches, rivers and lakes.”

The CALD COM Storyboards is a Moreland Council initiative that takes essential everyday messages and translates them into a visual story.

The Storyboards won State and National Multicultural awards and are recognised by State and Federal organisations as an innovative communications solution.