Proposed fencing law changes don’t go far enough, SPASA Vic says

By Alice Richard
Tuesday, 09 May, 2017

SPASA Victoria has criticised the Victorian Planning Minister’s proposal to make four-sided pool barriers mandatory by the end of 2017, arguing that a barrier inspection program would be more effective in preventing drowning deaths.

Speaking on radio station 3AW, Planning Minister Richard Wynne said that all private pools and spas will need to be completely fenced by the end of the year. A regulatory impact statement (RIS) on the matter is due to be released on 18 May.

SPASA Victoria is urging the government to focus instead on barrier maintenance by way of mandatory barrier inspections.

“By law, all Victorian pools and spas must already have a certified barrier in place, however the majority of barriers are not adequately maintained,” a SPASA Victoria statement said.

“There is clear and substantiated evidence that a lack of barrier maintenance is the cause of toddler drownings in backyard pools.”

The association referenced WA’s mandatory barrier inspection legislation, which was implemented in 1992 and has resulted in an 85% reduction in toddler drownings in the state. Queensland has seen the rate of child drownings in pools halved since it introduced an inspection program in 2010.

SPASA Victoria says it and other key stakeholders have not been consulted by the government and that the Victorian Government has ignored recommendations from industry experts.

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