Life Saving Victoria warns that 'new pool barrier laws alone are unlikely to prevent backyard pool drowning' and that 'unless supportive legislation is introduced to encourage pool and spa barrier compliance and maintenance, it is unlikely that the changes would make a significant difference to the drowning toll'.
Kidsafe Victoria supports our call for the introduction of mandatory pool and spa barrier inspections in Victoria. "The recent statistics from Knox Council highlights the need to have a co-ordinated, State-wide system in place where pool and spa barriers are regularly inspected," said Jason Chambers, Kidsafe Victoria General Manager.
Former CEO of Aquatics and Recreation Victoria, Anthony McIntosh says, "Victoria's aquatics and recreation industry is very supportive of SPASA’s proposed measures, which will unquestionably prevent fatal and non-fatal drownings every year. For pool owners with existing pool barriers, to have the discipline to maintain these to a safe standard over the life of the pool will make an enormous difference to the safety of the pool - week in, week out."
Grant Symes, General Manager of Protector Aluminium Fencing, fully supports SPASA Victoria’s initiative to legislate mandatory pool and spa barrier inspections. “Drowning is the greatest cause of accidental death of children under five in Australia. We need to react accordingly. The recent survey conducted by Leader newspaper paints a dire and very serious situation. This legislation would be a great step towards drowning prevention,” Mr Symes said.
Brett Fitzmaurice of Pool Safe Inspections Victoria says, "As a Registered Building Inspector with 20 years of professional experience, I have conducted over 2000 pool barrier inspections. The high rate of barrier non-compliance that I have encountered leads me to believe that Victoria’s existing pool barriers are neither safe nor compliant. I have witnessed that leaving the responsibility of maintenance requirements up to home owners is not working. I am disturbed by the continual fail rates that I find on my pool audits and urge change to reflect what other states in Australia are doing. The lack of ongoing barrier maintenance is why we continue to have toddler drownings. My company, Pool Safe Inspections Victoria, has conducted 423 pool audits in the last 2 years, of which 422 have failed on first inspection due to a lack of maintenance. Swimming pools and spas constructed between 8 April 1991 and 30 April 2010 in most cases have a four-sided barrier complying with the current Australian Standard. These barriers simply require maintenance. Legislating barrier upgrades retrospectively is going to be extremely costly. In many situations this will not be possible. But then the issue of barrier maintenance will still remain. Statistical evidence from Western Australia has shown that routine inspections over the last 15 years has reduced the number of drownings by 83%. Building inspection audits by Councils show an average failure rate of 98% in Victoria. In my opinion, legislating Mandatory Barrier Inspections in Victoria will reduce the number of both fatal and non-fatal drownings."