Following a long-running safety campaign by SPASA Victoria and other key stakeholders, the Victorian government has agreed to implement a mandatory pool and spa barrier inspection program.
SPASA Victoria CEO Brendan Watkins says it was only six months ago that SPASA Victoria along with many other industry stakeholders were shocked and dismayed at the government’s announcement of proposed legislation that would have compelled 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.
SPASA Victoria with other stakeholders including Kidsafe Victoria and Life Saving Victoria have waged a long and intense campaign including heavy media promotion and strategic behind-the-scenes advocacy.
“It is with great 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. Our voice of reason has finally been heard,” says Watkins.
“Today we have won the great safety debate. We are delighted that the Andrews government has finally 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 and spa barrier inspection program will save lives. Thank you Minister Wynne,” he says.
Regime ready for next summer
The Andrews government will introduce this new legislation to the Victorian parliament in June, with the new mandatory pool and spa register and inspection regime expected to 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.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne says they are creating a dedicated database of every household pool and spa in Victoria, and ensuring they’re regularly inspected to make sure they comply with high safety standards.
“Too many families have had to endure the heartbreak of losing a child in a drowning tragedy and it has to end,” he says.
“All drowning deaths in household pools and spas share a common theme: a lack of adult supervision. Always watch kids when there’s water close by.”