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Coroner’s Recommendations

SPASA Summary of Coroner's Court Reports relating to toddler (aged 0 - 4) drownings since 2000 in Victoria

Coroner Audrey Jamieson's report 'Finding Into Death Without Inquest' dated 1 May 2017 makes the following recommendations:

Coroner’s recommendations

SPASA Victoria’s view

1. With the aim of improving Victoria's pool safety regulation framework and preventing like deaths, I recommend that during the review of the Building Regulations 2006, the Minister for Planning consider adopting elements of the framework enacted in Queensland, including but not limited to, requiring that a pool safety certificate be obtained prior to a property with a pool being sold or leased.

SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.

2. With the aim of improving Victoria's pool safety regulation framework and rigorously monitoring compliance, I recommend that, as anticipated in the recommendation made by Deputy State Coroner lain West in the Finding following the Inquest into the death of Lauren Kayley Harris dated 14 October 2014, the Minister for Planning consider the creation of a statewide pool register. SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.
3. With the aim of emphasising and enhancing the role of real estate agency staff in detecting malfunctioning pool safety barriers in rental properties, I recommend that the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor consider that onsumer Affairs Victoria also produce a pro forma Routine Inspection Report document, which incorporates reference to 'pool fence and gate' and 'spa fence and gate', as in its condition report. SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.


The 2012 Coroner’s Inquest into the death by drowning of Victorian toddler Lauren Harris made seventeen recommendations, all of which SPASA endorses. The following ten are particularly relevant to this discussion: 

Coroner’s recommendations

SPASA Victoria’s view

1. If the pool builder contracts with the property owner to only construct a swimming pool (and not also the pool safety barriers) then the responsibility to construct the mandatory safety barriers will be imposed on the owner.

SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.

2. A clear obligation on the Building Permit holder to inform the relevant Building Surveyor when they have commenced building work.

SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.

3. A mandatory obligation on the relevant Building Surveyor to inspect any swimming pool Building Permit site within 2 months of the relevant Building Permit lapsing.

SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.

4.  Obligation on the relevant Building Surveyor to provide information on mandatory reporting and inspection obligations.

SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.

5.  Municipal Building Surveyors should be able to issue infringement notices for breaches of the law in relation to swimming pools.

SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.

6.  Authorised officers able to enter private properties for compliance with legislation and any Building Permit relating to a swimming pool.

SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.

7.  Mandatory inspections of swimming pool safety barriers every three (3) years by licensed pool safety inspectors.

SPASA supports this recommendation for mandatory inspections, which would bring Victorian rules into line with most other Australian states.

8.   Certificates of compliance for pool safety barriers as pre-conditions to the sale or rental or house sitting of any property that has a swimming pool.

SPASA supports this recommendation to improve swimming pool safety standards.

9. Pool owners be required to self-register free of charge on a Statewide, online register and provide certification that their pool barrier complies with the legislation.

SPASA supports this recommendation as the means of establishing a mandatory swimming pool safety barrier inspection regime.

10. Parliament consider providing a single piece of legislation containing a uniform set of rules and requirements relating to the construction and fencing of pools, irrespective of their date of construction.

SPASA supports the concept of a single piece of legislation containing a uniform set of rules and requirements relating to the construction and fencing of pools.
SPASA suggests consultation around simplifying barrier rules, noting that it will be physically impossible for some older pool barriers to be modified. Blanket retrospective barrier regulation amendments will not be practically possible to implement.