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Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 - Fact sheet

Supervision, pool barrier maintenance and CPR

Completing a home pool safety inspection

While fencing may assist in reducing drownings in backyard pools, the most effective way to prevent drownings is for children to be adequately supervised by a parent or other responsible adult.

Research on child drownings in backyard swimming pools indicates that the most common contributing factors are inadequately fenced pools and human error such as leaving the gate open, or fences not being maintained in good condition.

People choosing to have a pool have a responsibility to ensure that pool safety barrier/s and gate/s are installed, operated and maintained to the Australian Standard referred to in the Regulation.

It is also important that parents and others responsible for supervising children know how to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). The Royal Life Saving Society of NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW conduct CPR courses. All supervising adults are encouraged to undertake CPR training.

With over 300,000 backyard swimming pools in NSW, swimming pool safety is a vital issue that affects the whole community.

Changes to legislation

In 2012, a comprehensive review of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was finalised. This review identified a number of amendments designed to enhance the safety of children under the age of five years around private (‘backyard’) swimming pools in NSW.

The Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 includes:

  1. A NSW Swimming Pools Register available for use by 29 April 2013.
  2. All NSW swimming pools to be registered by owners by 29 October 2013.
  3. Pool owners require a swimming pool compliance certificate before sale or lease of their property from 29 April 2014.

The Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 commenced on 29 October 2012 and makes a number of amendments to the Swimming Pools Act 1992.

Pool owner amended responsibilities

  1. Swimming pool owners are required to register their swimming pools on an online register to be provided by the NSW State Government.
  2. Swimming pool owners will be required to self-assess, and state in the register that, to the best of their knowledge, their swimming pool complies with the applicable standard when registering their pool.
  3. There is a penalty for owners who fail to register a swimming pool (penalty notice amount of $220).
  4. Swimming pool owners will be required to provide a valid swimming pool compliance certificate before being able to sell or lease a property with a pool.
  5. Accredited certifiers under the Building Professional Act 2005 may conduct swimming pool inspections initiated by the pool owner.

To register your swimming pool go to the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register website at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au 

Amended Council responsibilities

  1. Council is required to:
    • develop and implement a swimming pool barrier inspection program in consultation with the community;
    • report annually on the number of pool inspections undertaken and the level of compliance with the requirements;
    • inspect pools associated with tourist and visitor accommodation and multi-occupancy developments at three year intervals;
    • at the request of a pool owner, inspect pools prior to sale or lease; and
    • issue compliance certificates after an inspection which finds a pool barrier compliant with the requirements of the legislation. Compliance certificates are valid for three years.
  2. A swimming pool subject to an occupation certificate is exempt from an inspection program for three years from the date of issue of the occupation certificate.
  3. Councils may inspect any swimming pool that is the subject of a complaint to the council.
  4. Council powers of entry will be consistent with the Local Government Act 1993.
  5. Councils may charge a fee for each inspection undertaken (up to a maximum of $150 for the first inspection and $100 for one re-inspection resulting from the first inspection).

Staged implementation provisions

The Act includes a staged implementation process:

  • Development and implementation of the Swimming Pools Register to commence by no later than 29 April 2013.
  • Registration by pool owners of pools after the register commences and by no later than
    29 October 2013.
  • Councils’ inspection programs to be developed in consultation with the community, adopted and commenced by no later than 29 October 2013.
  • Mandatory inspections by councils of tourist, visitor and multi-occupancy developments, and pools associated with property sale and lease to commence by no later than 29 April 2014.

Further information and resources

Further information will be available as the legislative amendments are implemented.

Information contained in this fact sheet sourced from www.dlg.nsw.gov.au/dlg/dlghome/PublicTopicsIndex.asp?mi=0&ml=10&id=12 

Home Pool Safety Check App screenshots

Home Pool Safety Check App

Ensure your home swimming pool is safe for children with Royal Life Saving’s Pool Safety iPhone app – an interactive checklist for your home swimming pool.

Search for ‘Home Pool Safety’ in the iTunes store to download.