Deadline extended to make pools safe

ALBURY pool owners were urged yesterday to make the most of a deadline extension to meet new standards.

The deadline for people to have a certificate of compliance for their pools had been yesterday, but the government recently extended that by a year.

Planning and environment director Michael Keys said the Albury Council was keen for all pool owners to ensure their pool fencing was compliant with the relevant code.

Compliance certificates must be included with documents when a property is sold or leased.

Mr Keys said the council had adopted its own pool policy with the aim of inspecting all of the city’s 1500 pools at least once every six years.

There was a failure rate of more than 90 per cent before the policy was introduced.

Mr Keys said the aim was to lower the number of childhood drownings.

“On average, six children die every year in NSW’s backyard swimming pools,” he said.

“Another 60 are admitted to hospital after a near-death experience.”

Mr Keys said of these, 25 per cent of victims developed a hypoxic brain injury.

“Research indicates that by increasing compliance with pool barrier requirements, the rate of infant death by drowning could be reduced by up to 41 per cent,” he said.

“The state is keen to address this and requires all councils to step up inspections to ensure pool owners comply with Australian standards.”

Mr Keys said many fences failed to meet minimum requirements.

“The inspection policy is designed to boost compliance with those standards, and inform and educate pool owners about safety,” he said.

Office of Local Government chief executive Ross Woodward recently extended the compliance deadline and said councils should use the extension to establish and implement a pool inspection program and promote awareness of the changes.

He said the rate of compliance failures had convinced councils people needed more time to meet the standards.

This had placed pressure on pool trades and services to carry out repairs and upgrades.