Posted on April 1, 2014 by

Swimming Pools Act: The Deadline Postponed

Numerous incidents over the years involving the tragic drowning of small children in backyard pools led the State Government in 2012 to amend the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (Act).  The main changes strengthen compliance conditions for child proof fencing and child proof locks to pools. The amendments:

  • require Councils to implement a program of barrier inspections, including inspections of tourist, visitor accomodation and multi occupancy properties;
  • require owners to self assess the safety and compatibility of their pools with the safety rules, and to register them with their Council;
  • allow accredited certifiers to undertake inspections and compliance certification at the request of owners.

In December last year the Government announced further changes requiring all properties sold or leased from 29 April 2014 to have a pool compliance certificate.

Given what is at stake there has been little objection to the more onerous requirements of the legislation.  However the current roll out of inspections, compliance checking and registration with Councils has caused an unprecedented backlog.

The Office of Local Government advises that Council feed back indicates there can be a three month interval between first inspection and final compliance and sign off once a land owner has done all that is necessary to bring the pool and its security into compliance.  See the Circular to Councils here.

The additional work for Council officers, private certifiers and members of the trade has warranted the Government extending the commencement date of the requirement to have a pool compliance certificate from 29 April this year to 29 April 2015.

The move is testament to the success of the advertising campaign raising awareness of pool safety.  Owners are calling in certifiers and reviewing the requirements themselves, and they are undertaking the measures needed to bring older pools into the current regime.

Private owners have the time to undertake the work and get their pools ready for compliance with the new regime for sale or lease.

Council’s should use any resources freed up by the postponement of the deadline, to implement their inspection programs including mandatory inspections of tourist and visitor accommodation and multi-occupancy properties.