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
Swimming pools are wonderful additions to the lifestyle of any Australian home. Exercise, and the social capital provided by a pool or spa, is immeasurable. With the current childhood obesity epidemic, the health and fitness benefits to Australian children are undeniable. SPASA Victoria wants to promote the safest possible outcomes of pool and spa use for our children.
Our members see backyard pools seven days a week and the majority have not been maintained and are not safe. Between 2004 and 2015, Victoria lost 25 children in backyard pool drowning fatalities. Recent media coverage regarding barrier inspection failures by local Councils underlines this fact. Knox Council recently inspected 100 backyard pools and found the ‘vast majority’ did not comply with State Government standards. Legislating mandatory pool barrier inspections will keep our kids safe.
Pool and spa barrier inspections are currently mandatory in three states - NSW, QLD and WA. Since the introduction of mandatory inspections in WA in 1992, there has been an 80% reduction in the rate of toddler drownings*. This Western Australia data proves that mandatory barrier inspection legislation works.
Summary of the Facts
- The Victorian government’s solution to toddler drowning is to introduce a retrospective 4-sided barrier regime for all pools & spas
- The majority of toddlers who have died in Victorian pools in the past 15 years have died in pools with 4-sided barriers
- Western Australia has had Mandatory Barrier Inspections (MBI) of private pools since 1992 & have reduced their rate of toddler fatalities by 80%
- Yet our State government is not considering MBIs
- Multiple Victorian Coroners, the World Health Organisation, Lifesaving Victoria, Kidsafe, Real Estate Institute of Victoria, Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group, Landscaping Victoria, Royal Life Saving & SPASA all endorse Mandatory Barrier Inspections
- Multiple reports from Victorian Councils show the average fail-rate of pool barriers in Victoria is 80%+
- The fundamental problem in Victoria is clearly a lack of ongoing pool barrier maintenance
- In the past 15 years, Victoria has had 22 toddler drownings in backyard pools. On average, for every fatality, there are around 6 non-fatal drownings. Most of those toddlers have ongoing brain injury. Total: 22 dead plus 60+ with permanent mental impairment
*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)
For further information please contact:
Kathryn Barres – Marketing Communications Co-ordinator
For Comment: Brendan Watkins, CEO SPASA: 03 9501 2040