A MOVE by the state government to crackdown on backyard pool safety with the introduction of a statewide online registry has been welcomed by a pool fencer.
Under the proposed legislation, pool owners face fines of $2200 if they don’t register their pools online within 12 months.
Safety compliance inspections will also be conducted by councils and private operators at an expected cost of $150 for pool owners.
Archer and Walker Fencing’s Vickie Walker described the online registry as awesome.
“It’s great as long as someone is going to go out and check them,” she said.
“People don’t maintain their pools and fencing. They have to enforce it because people won’t spend money on maintaining their pool.”
“They need to police it to make sure that people keep up with the requirements.”
Owners of non-compliant pools can be fined $5000 and pools will also be inspected before properties are sold or leased.
Mrs Walker said she had already received calls from pool owners who had never installed fencing before.
Despite emphasising the importance of correct fencing, gate latches and hinges, Mrs Walker said teaching children to swim was also vital to prevent drowning.
“It’s my firm belief that people really need to get their kids taught to swim,” she said.
“Everyone will whinge [about the tougher laws] but if it’s going to save one kid’s life it’s worth it.”
Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said the new rules will formalise a process the council already follows.
“It encourages residents to be up front about the fact they have a pool,” he said.
“It’s very good that the state government is moving in this direction for pool safety.”
Mr Reeder said people who rent homes with pools are also liable if their pool does not meet requirements.
Under current laws pools with a depth of more than 300 millimetres must be properly fenced, even if they are above ground.
The increased council pool inspections will mean more work for the council rangers.
“Council will welcome the opportunity to take it up, but the council won’t make any money out of it,” Mr Reeder said.
“There are no new requirements this a new system to encourage homeowners and pool owners to look closely at the safety of their backyard pool and prevent a tragedy.”
Tougher compliance with pool fencing requirements is said to reduce the rate of infant death by drowning by up to 41 per cent.
Six children drown each year in NSW backyard pools, on average, and about 36 children suffer brain damage from swimming pool accidents.
The bill will be introduced to state Parliament in the next few weeks.