Council pays for Muslim swim screen

RATEPAYERS will finance a $45,000 screen at a public pool so Muslim women can have privacy at female-only swim sessions.

The City of Monash has approved the financing despite dissent from a female councillor.

Cr Denise McGill said the issue had been divisive.

An Islamic women’s group agreed the screen was unnecessary, Cr McGill said.

There are sharia swim suits and other modest forms like three-piece swim suits that are generally acceptable for the Muslim community,” she said.

Cr McGill said she supported women-only swim sessions at Clayton pool but said the $45,000 earmarked for curtains could be better spent.

In February, Monash won an exemption from equal opportunity laws to offer fortnightly classes.

But the Victorian Multicultural Commission rejected the council’s application to help meet the cost of privacy curtains.

Council agreed to offer the female-only sessions for “cultural reasons” after being approached by Muslim women from various backgrounds.

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