HOMEOWNERS will be forced to register their pool and spas with Victorian councils and ensure their barriers are compliant under groundbreaking new laws.
Pool and spa owners, including landlords, will need to register their pool or spa with councils, declare their pool barriers are compliant, and ensure inspections are as frequent as every three years.
The changes came after the Leader questioned Planning Minister Richard Wynne on Wednesday, asking why the 2018 Building Regulations Act outlined no such mention of specific changes related to the requirements for swimming pools and spas to be fully fenced by 2020, which was announced in May last year.
Mr Wynne this morning said the new changes would include creating a dedicated database of every household pool and spa in Victoria to ensure they’re regularly inspected to make sure they comply with high safety standards.
“Too many families have had to endure the heartbreak of losing a child in a drowning tragedy and it has to end,” he said.
The Leader launched its Make Pools Safe campaign in December 2016, calling for changes following the drowning death of a Croydon South toddler in his unfenced backyard pool.
Less than two months after the campaign was launched, the government admitted that more needed to be done and told the Leader in January 2017 that pool fencing rules would be reviewed.
Pool Safe Inspections Victoria owner Brett Fitzmaurice, who has backed the Leader’s campaign since 2016, said it was time for Victoria to follow in the footsteps of other states.
“When Western Australia introduced this law 20 years ago it reduced drownings by 82 per cent,” he said.
But Maurice Blackburn public safety lawyer Dimi Ioannou said she was disappointed with the new laws.
“Only pools built after 2010 will require isolation fences, while those built before 2010 can include lockable doors and windows as part of the pool barrier,” Ms Ioannou said.
“All pools regardless of when they were built should be fully fenced,” she said.
Successive coroners had previously admitted to finding an absence of adult supervision contributing to the drowning deaths of 25 children between 2000 and 2017.