search iconlogin icon

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 Victoria ) 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 Victoria 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 Victoria , 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 Victoria 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

Slim Aarons Nice Pool 1955Buyer's Advocate 'Secret Agent' has revealed the changing attitudes towards the amount of backyard inner city buyers prefer and the value created by having a pool in your house.

Secret Agent looked at ten suburbs in Melbourne’s inner East and South East: Kew, Hawthorn, Hawthorn East, Toorak, Kooyong, Armadale, Malvern, Glen Iris, Camberwell and Brighton. The study was limited to only include three to five bedroom houses for a more realistic representation of a pool’s value.

On average, a swimming pool added between 10% and 16% to the value of a house, with the lowest expected value created being approximately $140,000.

However, this varied between suburbs, from as low as 6% in Camberwell, up to 35% in Hawthorn East. In Kew, houses that featured a pool were expected to sell for $450,000 more, which is a premium of about 30%. In Hawthorn, a pool is expected to only add $180,000 (11%) to the value of a property.

There are a few explanations for the differences in added value. For example, a big house may have other extensive renovations aside from a pool; such as a cellar, theatre room, tennis courts and sculptured gardens. Additionally, the number of car spaces and the school zoning would have an impact on sale price.

A swimming pool can be a wonderful addition and a good investment, despite its seemingly high upfront costs, since the lowest expected value it can create is around $140,000. Much more than just dollars and cents, a pool satisfies our natural, instinctive need to be close to water.

Read this article 'Pools Add At Least $140,000 In Value To A House' online HERE

See this article featured in Pool+Spa on-line HERE

Read SPASA Victoria Media Release - Pools Add At Least $140,000 In Value To A House - 22 March 2017

 MG 37472017 SPASA Victoria Pool & Spa Expo a raging success

SPASA Victoria’s Pool & Spa Expo + Outdoor Living show attracted a huge 22% more visitors than the 2016 event — a positive sign for the Victorian pool, spa and landscape industries.

There was more for consumers, with the new Outdoor Living hub attracting plenty of attention. A specially designed show garden was the centrepiece of the event, giving consumers a tangible idea of what is possible in their backyard.

The show’s 92 exhibitors were pleased with the increased foot traffic and found that visitor quality was high, with many consumers looking to lock in projects in the coming months.

A “raging success”

“The 2017 SPASA Victoria Pool & Spa Show was a raging success. I have never seen so many people attend a pool show,” said Waterco’s Brendan Nelissen.

 MG 3724“The 2017 expo was a huge success with increased foot traffic and great interest from visitors looking to plan their pool and landscape projects. The information seminars were well attended and there was a genuine thirst for knowledge from consumers. Most people I spoke to were finalising their plans and looking to commence projects in the coming months with a view to completing their backyard space in time for next summer,” said Cliff Cooke of Cooke Industries.

What’s hot?

Hot trends at this year’s expo included:

  • The ‘whole-backyard’ trend. Consumers increasingly want a ‘one-stop shop’ for their pool and landscape design and construction, and see the value in landscape design when considering a new pool or spa
  • Automation systems, particularly automated in-floor cleaning systems and automatic levellers — essentially, products that make a pool easy to own
  • European-designed spas
  • Products that fit into ever-decreasing backyard sizes: plunge pools, spas and swim spas. Pools still have a place in the backyard but they have to compete for space with features like outdoor kitchens, entertaining areas and garden features

From back door to back fence

Attendee surveys from the event revealed that consumers are increasingly demanding a one-stop shop for their backyard renovations.

The latest trends in pool design focus on “bringing the outdoors in and taking the indoors out — opening up the living spaces to the pool and backyard”, said Brendan Watkins, CEO of SPASA Victoria.

Justine Carlile of Justine Carlile LANDSCAPEdesign, a first-time exhibitor, identified three key factors that contributed to the increased foot traffic:

  • A surge in domestic building activity around Melbourne leading to an expected solid demand this year for new pools and spas
  • The high quality and diverse range of speakers at the daily public presentations, particularly in regards to the importance of having a landscape design when considering a new swimming pool or spa
  • The introduction of the Outdoor Living hub at this year’s Pool & Spa Expo, where there was a focus on integrating pool construction into landscape design to provide an enhanced outcome

 MG 3472Positive feedback

“The feedback from visitors was particularly encouraging, as they appreciated being able to receive advice on landscape design and outdoor furniture selection to complement their pool and spa aspirations,” said Carlile.

“The feedback from other exhibitors was similarly encouraging as they appreciated the increased diversity of exhibitors and the increased professionalism demonstrated by fellow SPASA Victoria members.”

“This year’s Pool & Spa Expo was much busier than previous years. The quality was also much better; we have had much better and much quicker results than the previous five years,” said Ted Martin from Compass Pools Victoria.

“I thought it was amazing! The responses and amount of feedback we received was incredible. I would do it next year,” said exhibitor David Jarman of Coolabah Landscapes.

“This year’s show was more lively, especially the centre of the expo — the Show Garden — attracted a lot of people our way. The combination of Justine Carlile LANDSCAPEdesign and LV provided a complete solution for everything from full construction to landscaping to poolscaping and outdoor furniture. It was great to have them all involved. The expo staff were amazing. They were extremely professional and deserve a massive pat on the back.”

Good deeds

Spa Industries Global converted the buzz around its new Spa Select European-design spas into generous support for charity. Three Spa Select spas were auctioned with no reserve, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

“Over $20,000 was raised and a cheque was presented to Lisa Mastoras, head of Community Fundraising for National Breast Cancer Foundation. It was a sensational result!” said Spa Industries Global’s Rob Kruber.

What’s next?

Not content to rest on their laurels, the SPASA Victoria team is now working towards its Winter Show, to be held on 12 and 13 August. This is the second biggest consumer pool and spa expo in the country — second only to the Summer Show.

You can read the full article in the Pool and Spa Review HERE


The Home Improvement section of the Herald Sun RealEstate newspaper on Saturday featured 'Lap of Luxury' - an article promoting the benefits of pool ownership and advocating that 'now's a good time to start the ball rolling' if you're in the market for a pool.

"Generally, pools do make homes more attractive to buyers if they're done well", writes Emma De Smit from the Herald Sun. "According to 2014 research conducted by buyers' advocate Secret Agent, pools in Melbourne's inner-eastern suburbs can add from about 6 to 30 per cent to the value of a home."

Likewise, the Age's 'Domain - New Living' newspaper on Saturday featured 'Cents and sensibility' in it's 'Style' section, with writer Darren Palmer stating that "...a pool can provide substantial value to [a] property. Take for example the home sold on The Block Allstars in 2013 for $1.4 million. In three years, the property was relatively unchanged except for the addition of a modest backyard pool and was sold for more than $2.5 million in 2016. A pool can be the perfect value-add to a home."

To read these articles in full see The Age Domain New Living - Cents and Sensibility and
Herald Sun Home Improvement - Lap of Luxury

J00409 6814

More Articles ...

  1. Aussies Prepare For A Scorcher Summer - Pool & Spa Expo The Place To Be
  2. SPASA Victoria Media Release - Victorian Kids Remain At Risk Until Laws Change
  3. Victorian Backyard Pool Safety Laws Dangerously Lagging - Western Australia Leads the Nation
  4. New Government Primary School Swim Goal Applauded – But What About our Toddlers?
  5. Media Claim Most Victorian Pools Fail Safety Laws – When Will Government Act?
  6. Enrolments for VICSWIM Summer Kidz Program Now Open
  7. 2016 Awards of Excellence winners announced
  8. VBA Warns Against Web DIY Videos
  9. Temporary and Inflatable Pools and Spas Must Have A Safety Barrier
  10. The Pool & Spa + Outdoor Living Expo is on This Weekend!
  11. SPASA Victoria Spa Sector Ad Launched
  12. Pool Fencing Rules Clarified
  13. 2016 SPASA Victoria Industry Training - It's Here
  14. Buyer Beware: Kit Pools & Unregistered Pool Builders
  15. Kit Pools & Owner Builders - Traps for Consumers
  16. Pools, Spas and Safety Barriers Must Meet Australian Standards
  17. Industry Invests $100,000 to Promote Pool & Spa Ownership
  18. 2015 Awards of Excellence
  19. Owner Builder Rules Clarified to Protect Consumers
  20. Making A Splash!
  21. SPASA Australia Awards Announced
  22. Consumer Goods (Portable Swimming Pools) Safety Standard
  23. SPASA Victoria Launches "A Lifetime Of Memories' Ad
  24. Kit Pool Insurance Trap For Consumers Who Engage Unregistered Builders
  25. Awards of Excellence 2014 Winners Announced
  26. Consumer Alert - Vogue Pools & Spas
  27. SPASA Australia Announces Finalists
  28. Vote For The Best Pool In Australia
  29. Buy a Pool & Invest In Your Future
  30. Huge Victorian Crowd Come Out to Invest in the Backyard Dream
  31. Inaugural National Awards of Excellence Gala Dinner Announced
  32. Joint SPASA Australia & SPASA Victoria Alliance Announcement
  33. SPASA Victoria 2013 Awards of Excellence Winners
  35. SPASA Australia Hosts Successful DRED Standard Forum
  36. SPASA Australia Announces Executive Appointments
  37. SPASA Victoria Member Triumph at Chelsea Flower Show
  38. National Industry Body appoints State CEO to CPSISC Committee
  40. SPASA Australia Steps Up
  41. Pool & Spa + Outdoor Living Expo to Showcase all the Latest in Water Fun & Fitness
  42. SPASA NSW Goes It Alone
  43. Official Comment on the Swimming Pool & Spa Alliance of Australia
  44. Response to The Swimming Pool & Spa Alliance of Australia Launch
  45. SPASA Australia 2012 National Pool & Spa of the Year Awards
  46. 2012 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced
  47. SPASA Australia 2011 National Pool & Spa of the Year Awards
  48. 2011 Awards Winners
  49. SPASA Victoria Accredited as CPD Provider
  50. SPASA Australia National Peak Body for the Swimming Pool & Spa Industry
  51. Important Information For Swimming Pool Owners In Flood Affected Areas
  52. 2010 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced
  53. SPASA Victoria Announced as Sponsor of the National 2010 savewater! awards
  54. SPASA Victoria Supports Call for Prompt Changes to Safety Standard
  55. Response to new Four-sided Pool Fencing Regulations
  56. Water Safety Week 2009
  57. 2009 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced
  58. SPASA Victoria Bushfire Appeal Auction Raises $15,975.00
  60. 2008 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced
  61. Dive in to Victoria’s first water-efficient pool
  62. Pool & Spa Expo Attracts Record
  63. Is It Sink or Swim?
  64. Pool industry dives into water recycling and storage
  65. Victorian Swimming Pool and Spa Industry Announces 2007 Awards of Excellence
  66. Yes, You Can Fill Your New Pool or Spa with Water
  67. Swimming Pool Industry Fights Back Today 10,000 Jobs are on the Line
  68. Pool & Spa Water Will Be Available
  69. Water Authorities to Clarify Swimming Pool & Spa Filling
  70. Swimming Pool Industry Identifies Solution for Survival
  71. Swimming Pool Industry Fights for Jobs
  72. Water Available for Swimming Pools
  73. Swimming Pool Industry Responds to Water Restrictions
  74. Pool & Spa Shows Set to Make a Big Splash!
  75. Swimming Pool Industry Goes To Ground
  76. Kit Pools Insurance Trap for Consumers with Unlicensed Pool Builders
  77. Victorian Swimming Pool Industry Announces 2006 Awards
  78. Commonwealth Games Swimmers Train in Recycled Water
  79. Swimming Pool Fire Safety Campaign