Deadline looms for backyard pools
New safety laws require anyone with a private pool or spa to register it by 1 November.
Victorians with home swimming pools and spas have until 1 November to register them with their local council, or face fines under the new safety laws.
The deadline applies to all private pools and spas with a depth of more than 30 centimetres, including above-ground and inflatable pools.
After the 1 November deadline, pool and spa owners have one to three years’ grace, depending on the age of the pool, to have their safety barriers inspected by an authorised person and lodge a compliance certificate with the council.
The new laws were introduced by the state government last December to make swimming pools and spas safer and help prevent drowning deaths, especially of young children. The original July deadline for registration was pushed back to 1 November due to COVID-19.
Drowning is a major cause of death for children under five and Kidsafe general manager Jason Chambers says most of these deaths occur in private pools.
He says 27 children have died in private pools and spas in Victoria since 2000 and the Coroner found faulty safety barriers were likely to blame in at least 20 of the cases.
Royal Life Saving Australia’s national drowning report shows that in 2019-20, 12 Australian children aged 0 to four years drowned and half of these deaths were in backyard swimming pools.
“While pool and spa barriers are effective in helping to reduce childhood drowning incidents, a large number of drowning deaths are the result of barriers that are faulty or non-compliant with Australian standards,” Jason says.
“The introduction of measures including the new mandatory registration and inspection system, in combination with existing education efforts, are vital to effectively reduce the rate of childhood drowning in home pools and spas in Victoria.”