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Health Benefits of SwimmingA new study that evidences the health and well-being benefits of swimming has just been released. The study has found that:

  • Swimming is uniquely placed to support people throughout their entire life
  • Swimming lowers the risk of early death by 28 per cent
  • Swimming lessons help children to develop skills quicker
  • Swimming and aquatic activity is a safe, cost-effective and viable option for healthcare professionals to signpost patients
  • Call for more research on the impact of physical activity on mental health and long term conditions
The report shows that the unique benefits of water make it the perfect place for people of all ages to exercise, particularly those with long term health conditions.

The report also found evidence that swimmers live longer and regular swimming helps older people stay mentally and physically fit. Importantly, it also showed that participation in swimming lessons can help children to develop physical, cognitive and social skills quicker than those who do not have lessons.

The findings of the report will be used to raise awareness within the health profession that swimming is a safe, cost effective and viable option to signpost patients.

There is also a call on the wider health and sports sector to come together and invest in further research on the impact of physical activity on mental health and long term conditions.

The reports remit was developed by the Swimming and Health Commission under the Chairmanship of Professor Ian Cumming. The Health Education England Chief Executive, said: “The Swimming and Health Commission was established by Swim England to explore the evidence base for the health benefits of swimming.

The resulting academic report is a ground-breaking collection of papers that identify striking and robust evidence for the significant improvements in health and quality of life that swimming produces.

“Swim England is the first sport governing body to support such an in-depth investigation of its relationship with health and wellbeing and I would like to applaud them for their foresight and for producing a piece of work that I am sure will become a reference document for many years to come.”

The full Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming report and Swim England’s response can be accessed HERE.

  

Read this article in full HERE

Brendan Watkins speaks out against the Victorian Government's proposed new 'retrospective' swimming pool barrier legislation on 98.7 FM Peninsula radio.

Brendan watkins spasa 250517 3rpp fm 0835 25 May 2017

RIS 2017The Victorian Government has released the long-awaited Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) as part of the Building Regulations Sunset Review and has entirely missed the point on pool and spa barrier safety improvement measures.

The Government has today announced its intention to legislate ‘Retrospective’ barrier laws - which will force 100,000 Victorian pool owners to re-build their safety barriers by 2020 - but admits that there is no evidence of likely improvement.1

The Government has continued to ignore the recommendations from industry experts regarding the cause of toddler drownings in backyard pools in Victoria. The proposed legislation will direct all owners of pools and spas built prior to 2010 to amend their barriers to not allow direct access to the pool or spa via a door from a building, such as a house or garage.

The evidence is that backyard pool drownings occur as a result of a lack of maintenance to existing barriers. There is no evidence whatsoever that suggests older pool barriers are less safe.

By law, all Victorian pools and spas must already have a certified barrier in place. It is not the design or type of the pool or spa barrier that is the cause of toddler drownings – it’s the lack of maintenance of the barriers.

CEO of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria (SPASA) Brendan Watkins says, “Time and again Council inspectors, the Coroner and our members, report the vast majority of home pool barriers aren’t being maintained. This is the real problem. The only solution is regular inspections of pool barriers – as currently works with great success right around Australia.”

SPASA will be heavily involved throughout the Government’s planned sixty day consultation period and will continue to stridently oppose the proposed introduction of ‘Retrospective’ pool and spa barrier laws – and advocate for mandatory pool fence inspections - by lodging a written submission to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

SPASA, and related stakeholders, have all been lobbying the Victorian Government for many years to pass legislation for inspections of pool and spa barriers to be made mandatory in Victoria in order to improve safety outcomes.

Specifically our position is to:

  • Immediately make pool barrier compliance certification mandatory for all properties sold or leased in Victoria; and
  • Introduce a mandatory barrier inspection protocol that ensures all residential properties with a pool or spa in Victoria are inspected every three years

SPASA Victoria Media Release - Government Completely Misses the Point on Pool Barrier Safety - 18 May 2017

Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) Overview
RIS Part B: Design, construction, completion / use and other topics - B3.4 Swimming pool barriers
Draft Building Regulations 2017

 

1 ‘The extent to which the adoption of the post-1 May 2010 barrier standard will reduce drowning and near-drowning incidents relative to the current Regulations is uncertain’. Page 113 - Regulatory impact statement proposed Building Regulations 2017, Part B: Design, construction, completion / use and other topics

Neil Mitchell 3AWThe Victorian government has yet again been urged by a coroner to implement better pool safety measures following the drowning death of a two-year-old boy, who left his sleeping mother and entered a backyard pool through a faulty gate.

The death of Elijah Meldrum on September 14, 2015 was preventable, according to coroner Audrey Jamieson, who found the rental property's tenants failed to inform their landlord and letting real estate agency that the pool's two gates were not working.

In findings published on Monday, the coroner said Elijah's death occurred amid "…the seemingly perpetually inadequate regulation of swimming pools in Victoria".

Ms Jamieson's call on the state government to overhaul pool fencing regulations and establish a program similar to that in Queensland is the fourth time since 2012 that a Victorian coroner has recommended action to prevent child drownings.

Figures released by the Coroners Court show 26 children drowned in domestic pools in Victoria between 2000 and the start of 2015. In most cases, fences or gates were either faulty or left open.

"In Victoria, it is relatively simple for properties with pool safety barriers and gates that do not meet regulatory standards to remain undetected," Ms Jamieson said.

Since Queensland introduced tougher regulations in 2010, the state's rate of child drownings in pools has halved, the coroner said.

The introduction of mandatory inspections in WA in 1992 has seen an 80% reduction in the rate of toddler drownings*. This Western Australia data proves that mandatory barrier inspection legislation works.
(*8.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 1992 down to 1.66 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016 Source: Royal Life Saving Society WA Inc)

SPASA Victoria is strongly of the view that inspections of pool and spa barriers should be mandatory in Victoria in order to improve safety outcomes. We implore the Victorian Government to pass legislation to:

  1. Immediately make pool barrier compliance certification mandatory for all properties sold or leased in Victoria
  2. Introduce a mandatory barrier inspection protocol that ensures all residential properties with a pool or spa in Victoria are inspected every three years

As responsible industry leaders, SPASA Victoria will campaign tirelessly until pool and spa barrier inspections are legislated in Victoria.

SPASA Victoria Media Release - State Government Defies Coroner & Rest of Australia on Toddler Safety - 3 May 2017

SPASA Victoria CEO Brendan Watkins Speaks on 3AW With Neil Mitchell

Watch 7 News article – Victorian Coroner Calls For Urgent Pool Safety Changes The Age - Toddler's Drowning Prompts Coroner to Call for Action on Backyard Pool Fences

Coroner Audrey Jamieson's report 'Finding Into Death Without Inquest' dated 1 May 2017

Pool FencingYesterday’s release of Coroner Audrey Jamieson’s recommendations in relation to the death by drowning of a toddler in his backyard pool has prompted SPASA Victoria to again ramp-up its child safety initiative of lobbying the Victorian Government to legislate the mandatory inspection of pool and spa barriers in Victoria.

The Coroner’s recommendations re-iterate SPASA Victoria’s campaigning over previous years to:

  • Mandate the issuance of pool safety certificates prior to sale or lease of a property
  • Implore the Minister for Planning to create a state-wide pool register

SPASA Victoria is strongly of the view that inspections of pool and spa barriers should be mandatory in Victoria in order to improve safety outcomes.

SPASA Victoria continues to implore the Victorian Government to pass legislation to:

  1. Immediately make pool barrier compliance certification mandatory for all properties sold or leased in Victoria
  2. Introduce a mandatory barrier inspection protocol that ensures all residential properties with a pool or spa in Victoria are inspected every three years

Swimming pools are wonderful additions to the lifestyle of any Australian home. The benefits of exercise - and the social capital provided by a pool or spa - are immeasurable. With the current childhood obesity epidemic, the health and fitness advantages to Australian children are undeniable. But barriers must be maintained.

As the peak body for the Pool and Spa industry, SPASA seeks to ensure the safest possible outcomes of pool and spa use for Victorian children and their families. Until mandatory pool and spa barrier inspections are legislated in Victoria, children will continue to be at risk of backyard pool drownings.

As responsible industry leaders, SPASA Victoria will campaign tirelessly until pool and spa barrier inspections are legislated in Victoria.

Coroner Audrey Jamieson's report 'Finding Into Death Without Inquest' dated 1 May 2017

SPASA Victoria Media Release - Government Allows Victorian Children to Remain At Risk - 2 May 2017

Brendan Watkins, CEO SPASA Victoria, speaks out on 3AW radio regarding the Government’s failure to act

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