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6th April 2018

SPASA Victoria Claims Victory On Long Running Pool & Spa Safety Campaign

As announced on Neil Mitchell’s 3AW Melbourne radio program this morning, SPASA Victoria are today elated at the State Government’s decision to implement a mandatory pool and spa barrier inspection program in place of the proposed retrospective barrier legislation.

This decision comes after a long-running campaign by SPASA Victoria - and other leading industry stakeholders - who have stridently promoted the importance of a mandatory pool and spa barrier inspection program in Victoria for many years.

It was only six months ago that SPASA Victoria - along with many other industry stakeholders - were shocked at the Government’s announcement of proposed legislation which would compel pool and spa owners to comply retrospectively with safety barrier laws, forcing thousands of people to endure the inconvenience and expense of re-fencing their pool and/or spa areas for no guaranteed improved safety outcome.

“It is with delight that the decision to implement a mandatory barrier inspection program and reverse the proposal of retrospective barrier legislation has been made by the State Government,” says SPASA Victoria CEO, Brendan Watkins.

“Today we have won the great safety debate. We are pleased that the Andrews Government has listened and respected the research, knowledge and experience of those within the pool and spa industry. After many years of being ignored on this topic, this is a victory for SPASA Victoria as well as all of the industry stakeholders. A mandatory pool & spa barrier inspection program will save lives.”

After years of heavy media promotion along with highly strategic behind-the-scenes advocacy, the hard work and passion of those within the pool and spa industry has finally paid off.

The Andrews Government will introduce this new legislation to parliament in June, and the new mandatory pool and spa register and inspection regime will be in place by the 2019 summer season.

Under this regulatory overhaul, households will need to register their pool or spa with their local council and declare their pool barriers compliant. A regular regime of inspections as frequent as every three years will then be enforced.

Victorian Government Media Release - Overhaul To Keep Kids Safe Around Pools And Spas
SPASA Victoria Media Release - SPASA Victoria Claims Victory - 6 April 2018​


4th April 2018

SPASA Victoria is Today Celebrating a Huge Win for Victorian Pool & Spa Owners - and the Industry as a Whole

The proposed ‘Retrospective’ pool barrier upgrade laws have been abandoned by State Government due to SPASA's extensive advocacy campaign.

The final decision on a mandatory barrier inspection program in Victoria will be announced shortly. It is hoped State Government continues to see merit in the significant safety enhancement provided by a regular inspection program of residential pool and spa barriers.

Six months ago SPASA - along with several industry stakeholders - was shocked at the Government’s announcement of draft legislation which was to compel pool and spa owners to comply with 'retrospective' safety barrier laws. It would have compelled many thousands of pool and spa owners to upgrade their barriers to comply to current regulations by 2020 - for no guaranteed improved safety outcome.

"By abandoning retrospective barrier laws, Minister Richard Wynne has made an informed decision that will save undue hardship on tens of thousands of Victorian pool and spa owners. The voice of reason has been heard. There is scant evidence that retrospective barrier laws would save lives. However, mandatory barrier inspections undoubtedly enhance toddler safety outcomes – this is clearly the legislation Government must introduce.

Government have got it half right – walking away from the unproven retrospective laws is sensible. The problem in Victoria is that pool fences aren’t being maintained. The majority of Australian pools and spas are covered by a mandatory barrier regime. It’s time for the Victorian Government to get on board," says Brendan Watkins, CEO of SPASA Victoria.

Wide Ranging New Victorian Building Regulations to Commence on 2 June 2018

Every ten years, Victorian legislation requires that existing building regulations be reviewed and remade - this process is known as “sunsetting”. In May 2017 the Victorian Government released a consultation version of new Building Regulations. SPASA Victoria provided information to members about this version last year and made a submission to Government in response to what was proposed.

The 10 Key Areas of Regulatory Change Are:

  1. New forms and further requirements to make sure that the permits, orders and notices include the information that is needed
  2. The Regulations have been modernised for the electronic use of documents for permits
  3. Updated requirements for the chief officer, RBSs and building practitioners in relation to documenting performance solutions
  4. New building permit reporting requirements commencing on 1 July 2019
  5. New obligations for the RBS to provide notice 30 days prior to a building permit lapsing to minimise lapsed permits
  6. Clear obligations on the RBS and the owner to inform the adjoining owner about protection work
  7. Introducing a new mandatory notification stage and inspections if the building work includes fire and smoke resistant building elements, which are lightweight construction in multi-storey residential buildings, and service penetrations in multi-storey residential and healthcare buildings. The Regulations also clarify the prescribed mandatory notification stages for demolition work or the construction of a pool
  8. The Regulations clarify the obligations of owners in relation to ESM maintenance, and encourage the uptake of maintenance schedules to simplify information for the owner. They also clarify the notification requirements in relation to pool barriers
  9. As-of-right construction of a Class 10a building with a floor area not exceeding 10m2 on undeveloped land
  10. Formalising the process for granting a determination to treat two or more allotments as a single allotment for the purpose of a building permit application
SPASA will shortly receive a briefing from the VBA on the detail of the above.
We will keep members posted on the detail of these amendments as soon as they come to hand.