Pool barrier inspection program announced for ACT
SPASA Australia has advised that the ACT Government is taking steps to ensure every backyard pool in the territory meets modern safety standards.
Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said pool barriers are only one facet of pool and swimming safety.
“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 said.
“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 have a chance to have their say on this issue, both through the yoursay website and other forums. Public consultation on transition times would also explore whether a pool owner could be granted an extension to comply in some circumstances —- for example, if a pool owner is in financial hardship, but needs a new pool barrier or substantial upgrade to the existing barrier.
“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.
It’s important to remember a pool barrier can include traditional pool fencing, walls, boundary fencing and child resistant gates and doors. Some pools already have barriers isolating the pool and may need only minor upgrades. Many backyards include structures that may form part of a barrier already in place. Swimming pools and spa pools built from mid-2010 must comply with the safety standard currently in place.
“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.
The process of developing and legislating an inspection regime is likely to take a few years. This will be followed by a transition period, which will be determined in consultation with industry and the community.
SPASA said it will keep members abreast of any news as it become available.
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