Swimming is a popular Australian pastime, whether at your local pool, beach, or river.
But too many people continue to lose their lives. That is why it is so important that all people, especially children, have the skills and confidence to be safe in and around water.
The First Lap voucher helps children learn how to be safe in the water and enjoy the benefits of being healthy and active.
Swim schools play a critical role in teaching Australian children vital water safety skills.
Through your efforts and the NSW Government’s First Lap voucher program, we can reduce the risk of drownings and ensure NSW children are safe in the water.
Frequently asked questions for providers
The First Lap voucher program provides $100 vouchers for parents, guardians and carers of children aged 3-6 years who are not enrolled in school to contribute towards the cost of swimming lessons. The program has been expanded for the 2021/22 financial year to include children in kindergarten in 2021 and children starting kindergarten in 2022, who missed out on vital water safety education during their pre-school years due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Each eligible child will have access to one voucher valued up to $100 per financial year. First Lap vouchers can be redeemed at time of payment for a child’s swimming lessons with an approved First Lap Provider.
Vouchers are valid for redemption during the financial year of issue.
The First Lap program will run from 1 December 2021 to 30 June 2023.
No. The First Lap and Active Kids programs are two different voucher programs with different eligibility criteria and separate application processes. Approved Active Kids providers still need to apply to participate in the First Lap program.
- Active Kids vouchers are only available to school-aged children whereas First Lap vouchers are only available to children aged 3-6 years and children in kindergarten in 2021 or starting kindergarten in 2022.
- First Lap vouchers can only be used for swimming lessons whereas Active Kids vouchers can be used for a range of sports and active recreation activities.
- First Lap vouchers are eligible to use for intensive swimming lessons over a number of days, whereas Active Kids programs must be delivered over a minimum of eight weeks.
- The First Lap program uses a newer Service NSW voucher platform which means the application, management dashboard and redemption processes are different compared to Active Kids, which uses an older voucher platform.
To register as a provider with the First Lap program, you must deliver a structured and supervised learn to swim program over a minimum of 5 sessions.
All First Lap providers must:
Be based in NSW;
Hold a current ABN or ACN;
Obtain Working with Children Check (WWCC) clearance for all staff and/or volunteers, as required. Providers that are not sole traders must verify all WWCC through the Office of the Children’s Guardian website (www.ocg.nsw.gov.au). Sole traders’ WWCC must be verified by the eligible child’s parent, guardian, or carer;
Hold current insurance appropriate to the program being delivered; and
Ensure all swimming instructors involved in program delivery hold a current Royal Life Saving Society, AUSTSWIM or ASCTA licence.
You may be required to submit verification of business and activity program as outlined above to support your application to become a provider.
All providers must be approved as a First Lap provider prior to accepting any vouchers.
There are two simple steps to register as a provider:
- Visit the First Lap providers page on service.nsw.gov.au and check the information you need to have on hand to complete your application.
- Click the “Register Online” button on the page when you are confident that your organisation is eligible to become an approved First Lap provider, and that you have the required information and documents ready.
The First Lap voucher can be used for both intensive (where there is a lesson everyday), or regular weekly swimming lessons.
The swimming lessons must be:
a structured and supervised program;
given by a swimming teacher;
in a swimming pool; and
a program of at least 5 lessons.
Programs that take place in the following are not eligible:
Moving bodies of water
Water with potential underwater hazards
Water with low visibility
Other costs and activities that are not eligible are:
Centre membership fees of an approved First Lap provider that is not part of a structured program
Casual visit passes
Any sessions not in a safe and suitable swimming facility
Travel to and from sessions
Any virtual or online program
Individual items or equipment (such as swimmers, goggles, flippers)
The first voucher is valid from 1 December 2021 to 30 June 2022.
The next voucher will be available on 1 July 2022, expiring on 30 June 2023.
Expired vouchers cannot be redeemed for reimbursement.
A voucher can only be used once with an approved First Lap provider.
Expired vouchers cannot be redeemed for reimbursement.
No, when the fee is less than $100, the provider will be reimbursed the lesser value.
No – online programs do not satisfy the core objectives or requirements of the First Lap program.
No, a swimming lesson provider located outside NSW will not be eligible to register with First Lap, even if it has NSW residents involved in its programs. Vouchers can only be used with approved providers located in NSW.
No – if a provider has children participating in swimming lessons who live in another State or Territory, those children will not be eligible to claim a voucher as they must reside in NSW to be eligible for a voucher.
Reimbursement to providers should occur within seven days of the redemption of vouchers.
Please note that providers will be reimbursed the actual value of the swimming lessons up to $100 and do not automatically receive $100 for each voucher.
Providers cannot raise their fees as a result of their registration in the First Lap program nor can they apply differential pricing for voucher holders vs non-voucher holders.
Generally speaking, if a fee increase isn't warranted in the absence of a voucher program, then it would be deemed unreasonable.
Providers may be audited at any time by the First Lap team, including review of fee increases.
If a fee increase is deemed unreasonable by the First Lap team, providers may be suspended or removed from the program.
The First Lap and Active Kids programs are two different voucher programs with different eligibility criteria for both providers and voucher applicants.
The First Lap program uses a newer Service NSW voucher platform which means the application, management dashboard and redemption processes are different compared to Active Kids, which uses an older voucher platform.
When to submit separate applications for each location
- Your activity locations have different bank accounts and you do not wish to independently reallocate funds
- To submit a separate application for each activity location, each activity location must either have a different ABN or a different business name listed on the Australian Business Register (ABR)
When to include all activity locations in a single application
- Your activity locations share the same ABN and do not have unique business names on the ABR
- Your activity locations share the same bank account
- Your activity locations have different bank accounts, but you are willing to independently reallocate funds