The Andrews Labor Government has introduced new mandatory safety regulations for private pools and spas in a bid to reduce the incidence of drownings among young children.
The majority of drowning deaths of children under five happen in home swimming pools. In Victoria alone, there have been 27 fatal drownings in private swimming pools and spas over the last 19 years.
The Victorian Coroner found in at least 20 of these cases the safety barrier was non-compliant, and this is likely to have played a role in the deaths.
The new regulations require owners to register private pools and spas with their local council including, all permanent pools and spas and most relocatable ones capable of holding water to a depth greater than 30cm.
Small inflatable wading pools that do not require any assembly do not have to be registered.
Owners are also required to have a registered building surveyor or inspector certify that their pool or spa safety barrier is compliant every four years.
Councils will inform owners of the date by which they must organise their first inspection and certification of their barrier which will be determined by the age of the pool or spa with older ones to be inspected first.
If the inspection finds the barrier is non-compliant, the owner has up to 60 days to bring it up to code – serious cases of non-compliance will be referred directly to council for follow up actions.
While the new regulations come into force on 1 December 2019, implementation will be staged to give owners and councils time to adjust to the new requirements.
These recommendations are a result of a comprehensive review of pool safety regulations which included extensive consultation with councils and other stakeholders.
Registrations to Councils must be submitted by 1 June 2020.
For more information on the new regulations, visit vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/swimming-pools.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne
“The number of children drowning in non-compliant backyard pools is tragic and unacceptable – that’s why these new regulations are necessary.”
“We owe it to our children to do everything we can to make sure our pools and spas are safe.”