Pool safety a focus for registration scheme

A person swimming in a pool, photo taken from overhead.

Under a new State Government law to reduce the risk of children drowning, owners are required to register their swimming pools and spa by 1 June 2020.

The State Government has introduced the new legislation requirements for pools and spas which are now required to be registered with Council.

Council is implementing the registration scheme and ensuring that all pools and spas within the municipality are registered.

Mayor, Richard Higgins, said the new laws came out of coronial inquests where unsafe and non-compliant pool or spa barriers contributed to the drowning death of children.

“We know that having up-to-date safety barriers can actively help to reduce the risk of a child getting into a pool area and drowning,” Cr Higgins.

“Losing a child in such an awful, preventable way is more than any parent should have to deal with, and anyone with a pool or spa has to do their bit by getting their barriers checked.

“A survey by the Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group in 2018 found that about 90 per cent of people surveyed had non-compliant pool and spa barriers, and that generally, owners had a poor understanding of the requirements they had to meet.

“Under the new State Government laws, pool and spa owners are required to engage a registered building surveyor or building inspector every four years, to certify that their safety barriers are compliant.

“Drowning is the most common cause of preventable deaths of children under the age of five, and registration and certification will help us as a community to reduce this risk.

“I encourage every pool and spa owner to get on top of this as soon as possible and visit yarraranges.vic.gov.au/poolregistration to start the process.”

Over the last 20 years, 27 children drowned in Victorian backyard swimming pools and spas. For every fatal drowning, there are about six more non-fatal incidents, with about 20 per cent of these resulting in long-term behavioural and learning impairment.

Cr Higgins said that children must always be supervised around water, and that young children should never be out-of-reach of a parent or carer, especially when in the water.

The State Government law required Council to take charge of the mandatory registration scheme from 1 December, 2019, with all swimming pool and spa owners required to contact their local Council to register their pool and/or spa by 1 June 2020.

Compliance certificates for pool and spa safety barriers will be required every four years.

Suggested due dates for compliance certificates are staggered depending on the age of the pool or spa.

Swimming pools and spas state-wide are expected to be compliant as per the below dates in the table below.

Swimming pool/spa construction date First certificate of swimming pool barrier compliance due (Form 23)
30 June, 1994 or earlier1 June 2021
From 1 July, 1994 – 30 April, 2010 1 June 2022
From 1 May, 2010 – 31 May, 20201 June 2023
Constructed without a building permit before 1 June, 2020 From 1 June 2021
On or after 1 June, 2020 At the time of applying for registration
The date the relocatable swimming pool was last erected as specified in the application form (Form 22)No later than 30 days after the date the pool was registered

Registrations will be at a capped cost, which will cover the cost to Council for implementing the registrations scheme.

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