Compulsory Pool Barrier Inspection Program Announced for Australian Capital Territory

Swimming Pool and Spa Association (also known as SPASA) Australia has announced that the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government is taking measures regarding the compliance of every backyard pool to meet the modern safety standards.

Planning and Land Management Minister, Mick Gentleman emphasized that pool barriers are only one of the safety measures and that there is a lot more.

There is no substitute for proper adult supervision
“There is no substitute for proper adult supervision of children in and around pools, and that has been the message of our Backyard Lifeguard safety campaign — but pool barriers are proven to make swimming pools safer,” Gentleman Stated
“That’s why proper barriers are mandatory on new pools and it’s why they are compulsory on every pool in Queensland and NSW. Most other states and territories also require existing pools to be maintained and upgraded at defined times. With our Backyard Lifeguard pool safety campaign now wrapped up, the ACT Government will now begin the first phase of our safer pools consultation.”
“The first step is to talk to industry about how a pool safety inspection regime might work and how long installers would need to bring every pool up to modern standards. Then we’ll talk to pool owners about what would be a fair timeline for this transition to ensure we have a system that is effective and achievable for pool owners,” he said.

Following industry consultation, Canberrans will be given a chance to say their concerns on this issue, through the yoursay website and other forums.

Extensions for pool owners regarding the compliance will also be tackled in a free public consultation to give considerations to people who are incapable at the moment. Examples of these are pool owners that are experiencing financial difficulties and other reasonable situations.
“Along the way we’ll probably uncover some complexities and challenges, as has been the experience in other jurisdictions.”
“We may even find isolated circumstances that justify exceptions and compromises — but the indisputable fact is pool barriers save lives and every pool in the ACT should have a pool barrier that meets modern safety standards and these barriers should be maintained,” Gentleman said.

Pool barriers can include the traditional pool fencing, walls, boundary fencing and child resistant gates/doors. Some pools have barriers that already isolate the pool and does not need major upgrades. Multiple backyards includes structures that forms a barrier already. Pools and spa that are built from mid-2010 should comply with the current safety standards.
“As a community we are all responsible for safety around pools and together we can reduce the risk of children drowning in backyard pools in the ACT,” Gentleman said.
Developing and legislating an inspection regime will be in place in a few years and will be followed by a transition period, which will be determined in consultation with industry and the community.
SPASA stated that it will keep their members updated with news regarding this matter.

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