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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Queensland Pools Made Safer

    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Queensland Pools Made Safer

    The State Government has today introduced the final stage of Australia’s toughest swimming pool safety laws into the Queensland Parliament, announced Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe.

    “These new mandatory pool safety certificates and inspections for Queensland will help save lives and make the state’s pools the safest in the country,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    Mr Hinchliffe said the State Government had asked an expert committee, including Kidsafe, the Royal Lifesaving Society, Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit and the Local Government Association of Queensland, to conduct the largest review of our pool laws in almost 20 years.

    “The Bligh Government will not take risks with the safety of young children around pools” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    Between 1 January 2004 and 18 May 2010, 35 children under five years of age drowned in residential swimming pools and in 2008/09 eight children drowned in swimming pools. Each year there are approximately 50 non-fatal immersion incidences, which often cause permanent brain damage.

    “Nothing replaces adult supervision of children when they’re near water,” said Mr Hinchliffe.

    “But the new laws aim to drastically reduce the risk of young children entering pools on their own.”

    Proposed amendments in the Building and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 will replace the current assortment of 11 pool safety standards with a single, uniform approach.

    “This Bill extends State pool laws to cover indoor pools and pools associated with hotels, motels, caretaker dwellings, caravan parks and other residential buildings,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “To ensure pool owners have time to adjust, the Bill allows for a five-year phase-in period for people to upgrade their pool fences – unless they sell or lease the property first.

    “However, owners of residential pools that are not shared cannot lease their properties out without a current pool safety certificate in place.

    “For all other pools, where a property is sold without a certificate, a prescribed notice must be given by the seller to the buyer advising that the pool may be non-compliant.

    “The buyers must then ensure their pool is compliant within 90 days of settlement. The maximum penalty for a non-compliant pool after this period is $16,500 with the option to issue infringement notices of $1,650.

    “The Pool Safety Council (PSC) must also be advised that the property transaction was settled without a certificate in place.”

    Pool safety inspections are expected to cost between $90 and $130. Mr Hinchliffe urged Queenslanders to shop around before obtaining a pool safety inspection and report.

    “As the cost of inspection charges will be set by the market, I would urge people to shop around get the best price before they proceed with a pool safety inspection,” the Minister said.

    Mr Hinchliffe said the Bill would also provide for a six-month phase-in period for pools associated with short-term accommodation to obtain a pool safety certificate.

    “All other shared pools will have two years to prepare and plan for upgrading their pool fences to the one standard, and be required to obtain a pool safety certificate.”

    This will ensure that bodies corporate have sufficient time to plan and budget for any work they need to undertake to meet the new standard.

    The new reforms also mean portable pools and spas of a depth of 300mm or over will be required to be fenced, bringing the state legislation into line with nationwide standards.

    The amendments to the Act also include wider powers of entry for local government for safety inspections o outdoor pools and mandatory inspection of pools by local government following immersion incidents.

    “To make sure pool owners, the real estate and legal sectors are aware of the new obligations, the Department of Infrastructure and Planning is developing a targeted education and awareness campaign, which will be rolled out in the coming months.

    "These new regulations will save lives and they will make our pools the safest in Australia,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    The new regulations will be reviewed within seven years.

    Media contact: 3224 8750