Private Swimming Pools

Swimming Pool Safety
Drowning is one of the major causes of death for NSW children under the age of five. Each year on average 10 children under five drown in backyard swimming pools and many more suffer brain damage and other serious injuries associated with near-drowning experiences. The lack of adult supervision, and failure to ensure that pool barriers were properly constructed and maintained, was a significant factor in the deaths of several children.

New Swimming Pool Legislation

In 2012, a comprehensive review of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was finalised. This review identified a number of amendments designed to enhance the safety of children under the age of five years around private (‘backyard’) swimming pools in NSW.

The new laws include:

Online Pool Register

Council’s mandatory inspection program

  • Council will develop and implement a swimming pool barrier inspection program in consultation with our community (by 29 October 2013).
  • Draft Pool Inspection Program– If you wish to comment, please forward a written submission to the General Manager, Tumut Shire Council, 76 Capper Street, Tumut NSW 2720 or via e-mail admin@tumut.nsw.gov.au. Submissions should be marked: “Submission Draft Swimming Pool Inspection Program”. The closing date for submissions is COB 9th August 2013.
  • Report annually (via Council's Annual Report) on the number of pool inspections undertaken and the level of compliance with the requirement

Selling or leasing a property with a pool

Tourist and visitor accommodation

  • A Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate is required for properties on which there is tourist and visitor accommodation or more than 2 dwellings at least once every 3 years. This requirements starts from 29 April 2014.

 Owners may request an inspection at any time

  • Pool owners can make an application to Council for a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate at any time, regardless of whether they intend on selling or leasing their property.
  • The Certificate will be valid for 3 years, so long as the fencing remains compliant in that time.  

Quick summary of changes

29 April 2013Pool owners must commence registering their swimming pool.
29 April 2014Tourist and visitor accommodation must make an application for a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate. 
29 October 2013Council’s mandatory inspection program commences.
29 April 2014Properties for sale or lease must obtain a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate before they sell or lease.

Legislation
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 currently requires that all swimming pools have an appropriate child resistant barrier that restricts access between the residence and the swimming pool. Owners may be fined if the pool fence or other appropriate child resistant barrier does not meet the requirements.

Pool Fencing
Pool owners must determine whether their pool fence or other barrier complies with the legislation. There are different fencing requirements for swimming pools depending on when and where the pool was installed. Pool owners are asked to seek advice from Council if uncertain about what regulations apply to their swimming pool.

Pool owners are reminded that there is no substitute for constant adult supervision of children in and around swimming pools to prevent drowning and other accidents.

Useful Links

  • Children's Hospital at Westmead - provides a Protect your Pool, Protect your Kids video which visually demonstrates the basic pool fencing requirements in the Swimming Pools Act and provides other key water safety messages. Viewers may choose to view part or all of the 25 minute video depending on need. The website also contains other resources on pool safety.
  • Safewaters - provides further information on: fencing backyard pools; frequently asked questions; information in community languages; checklists for pool owners.
  • Swimsafe - Department of Arts, Sport and Recreation information regarding swimming lessons.
  • Keep Watch – Home Pool Safety - Royal Life Saving Society information including checklist, fact sheets and other resources
  • Pool Safety Information Booklet - Created by Sutherland Shire Council, NSW