The NSW Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole, has appointed former NSW treasury secretary, Michael Lambert, to conduct a review of barrier requirements for swimming pools and spas.
In addition to his previous role as treasury secretary, Lambert has extensive experience in building regulation.
Minister Toole says the review will examine the inspection and certification framework, in particular the requirement for compliance certificates for properties sold and leased as well as the enforcement framework.
“Child safety around pools is always a concern for homeowners and carers and a review of the requirements can only strengthen protection,” he says.
Lambert is currently reviewing the Building Professionals Board Act, which is examining the effectiveness of certification and building regulation in NSW.
“Reviewing the two pieces of legislation at the same time will allow Mr Lambert to consider how the two Acts relate and overlap to ensure they are both strong and effective,” he says.
Spiros Dassakis CEO of SPASA NSW says he welcomes the review and while SPASA has been frustrated with the problems associated with the implementation of pool barrier inspection program in the past, they support the proposed review in order to allow more appropriate and meaningful consultation to take place.
“We are pleased that the Minister for Local Government Paul Toole has listened to our industry, one that has provided voluminous submissions offering sensible and workable safety solutions,” he says.
He also says the decision to conduct a fresh review of the swimming pool barrier program follows strong and repeated advice by SPASA over the past three years that a comprehensive consultative review was needed to address concerns relating to training, certification and interpretive inconsistencies with the application of Legislative and Australian Standards in practice.
The review will consider recommendations to simplify the regulatory framework for private pools and spas in NSW which in turn will increase compliance as well as improve the safety of young children around swimming pools and spas. A final report to the Minister of Local Government is due by December 2015.
“The Terms of Reference for the review are broad and SPASA anticipates making a number of substantial recommendations to improve and strengthen the pool barrier certification program,” Dassakis says.
In the interim, there will be no changes to the current pool barrier program which commences 29th April 2016.
Dassakis encourages homeowners to continue seeking advice regarding compliance of their pool and spa barrier from their local council or industry professional.
A Discussion Paper will be issued by the Office of Local Government in the near future.