Lambert Report released; NSW Govt responds

SPASA New South Wales & ACT

By Alice Richard
Friday, 25 November, 2016

The Lambert Report, an independent review into the effectiveness of the NSW swimming pool barrier regulatory framework, has been released.

In 2015, Michael Lambert was tasked with investigating and making recommendations on reforms to the Swimming Pools Act 1992 to improve the safety of children under five around backyard pools in NSW.

While the review recommended that all pool barriers be required to comply with one single standard, rather than the current situation that requires barriers to comply with the standard in effect at time of construction, the NSW Government has rejected this recommendation.

According to a statement from the NSW Office of Local Government, the cost of implementing all of the review’s 62 recommendations would be more than $1 billion — costing individual pool owners up to $5000 each. The government says it supports 46 of the 62 recommendations (although some of this support is only in-principle).

A cost-benefit analysis of the report conducted by the Centre for International Economics found that the costs of implementing the report’s recommendations far outweigh the benefits.

The NSW Government says it will focus on strengthening its commitment to minimising drowning risks for young children on two fronts:

  1. Increasing targeted education focusing on vigilant and responsible adult supervision of young children in and around backyard pools at all times as the first line of defence.
  2. Strengthening the regulatory framework for swimming pool barriers to minimise the risk of child drownings while not imposing a significant net cost on the community.

Paul Toole, the Minister for Local Government, announced that the NSW Government will increase its support for an advertising blitz focusing on adult supervision to improve backyard pool safety.

“Active adult supervision of young children is the first line of defence against drowning in backyard pools. Royal Lifesaving NSW’s campaign, with increased NSW Government support, will drive home this important message,” said Toole.

To read the entire Lambert Review, click here. The NSW Government’s response to the review can be found here. SPASA’s response to the Independent Review of NSW Swimming Pool Barrier Requirements — Discussion Paper can be found here.

SPASA will review the NSW Government’s response in the coming weeks and will respond to the Minister. In the interim, members wishing to discuss any aspect of the government’s response can contact SPASA NSW/ACT CEO Spiros Dassakis by phone on (02) 9630 6300 or by email.

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