With more than 10,000 backyard swimming pools in Wyong Shire, pool safety is a big community issue. Pools can be great fun, however, for some, they have also resulted in tragedy. Drowning of young children can happen quickly and silently.
Research conducted on child drownings in backyard swimming pools indicates that the most common contributing factors are unfenced pools and human error, for example, people leaving the gate open or fences not being maintained.
Regular checks to ensure that the gate is operating effectively and that the fence is sound may help reduce drowning in backyard pools. However, there is no protection or safety equipment that replaces adequate supervision of children by a responsible adult.
It is the responsibility of the occupier to keep the pool fence in a state of good repair, and ensure all gates providing access to the swimming area are self-closing and self-latching. The occupier must also display a prescribed warning notice near the swimming pool, to show resuscitation techniques and a supervision warning. Pool safety notices are available to purchase from Council.
Any pool that can hold more than 30cm of water requires a fence and Council approval. You will be fined:
- $220 if it is not registered
- $550 if it is not fenced
- $1500 if it is not approved by Council
Self-assessment checklists are available on the Department of Local Government website and are useful for property owners to check on the level of compliance of the pool fence on their property.
Pool users and owners should be aware that if there is a death or injury in a pool, legal liability may fall on the person responsible for the pool at the time, even if a safety fence is installed.
New pool laws for properties with swimming pools and spas
From Friday 29 April 2016 all NSW properties with a swimming pool or spa will be required to have a valid certificate of compliance or an occupation certificate for the pool before the property can be sold or leased.
Both certificates are only valid if issued within the last three years, otherwise a new Certificate of Compliance is required, which can be organised through Council for a fee of $150. If two inspections are required to confirm non-compliant components of the fence have been rectified, there is a subsequent fee of $100.00. As such, it is recommended a self-assessment of the fence be undertaken before applying for this Certificate.
Visit www.olg.nsw.gov.au/public/my-home/swimming-pools for more information.
NSW Government Swimming Pool Register
Pool owners are required to register their swimming pools in via the NSW State Government online Swimming Pool Register. Those who fail to register their pool may recieve a fine of $220 and if an inspector refers the matter to court, a maximum fine of $2,200 may be given.
Swimming pool registration is free. If you cannot access the online register you can register your pool at the Customer Contact desk at the Wyong Civic Centre, 2 Hely St, Wyong, for a fee of $10.00.