The NSW Parliament passed the Swimming Pools Amendment Bill 2012 without amendment or objection but SPASA CEO, Spiros Dassakis, says the amendments are flawed.
The NSW Parliament passed the Swimming Pools Amendment Bill 2012 yesterday (23 October 2012) without amendment or objection but the Swimming Pool & Spa Association of NSW’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Spiros Dassakis says the amendments are flawed and unlikely to make an impact on the numbers of children drowning in NSW.
“Apart from the SPASA NSW submission in February 2012, there has been no consultation with the swimming pool & spa industry despite the fact that many of the comments and recommendations provided reflect the vast majority of submissions the government has received from other stakeholders......and chosen to ignore,” says Dassakis.
SPASA NSW, whilst applauding government for taking an interest to protect toddlers by introducing the new Bill to ensure backyard pools comply with regulations, we believe there are significant problems with the legislated amendments. Namely:
1. SPASA NSW considers it improper and even careless for the Division of Local Government to rely on pool owners to self certify their swimming pool by following a suggested checklist. Additional concerns relate to the owners of the swimming pools who have “Self Certified” being untrained, unqualified and exposed to possible litigation in the event of a drowning or other related incident.
2. The proposal for “Councils to develop and publish a Swimming Pool Barrier Inspection Policy and Program that is acceptable and affordable to their community” may lead to 152 Councils administering different inspections regimes in NSW.
3. There are many foreseeable problems for local government to be wary of in the creation of a Swimming Pool Barrier Inspection Program. The Pool Barrier Inspection Program seems riddled with inefficiencies not limited to the following:
* Patchwork of different inspection regimes (152 councils)
* Poor design of the Inspections program/s
* Capability to monitor and enforce
* Interpretation of Legislation and Australian Standards
* Council Inspector & Private Certifier expertise in this area
* Councils resources
* Cost due to size of council
4. In terms of administering the proposed Register, the Government has failed to recognise the key role that retailers of inflatable and portable swimming pool products could play in making the process easier for pool owners and providing more accurate information. Retailers of such products should be required to collect sufficient data from the consumer at the point of sale in order to record the relevant details on the Swimming Pool Register.
5. It is disappointing the Bill refers only to “Local Council Inspectors” and “Private Certifiers” as the only parties able to undertake the certification process. Government must consider qualified individuals within the swimming pool & spa industry as a complimentary addition to inspectors and certifiers as is the case in other jurisdictions if it is serious about timely coverage of swimming pool barrier inspections.
“Whilst SPASA NSW is certain that government takes the role of swimming pool safety very seriously, we remain mystified that the only Peak Industry Body for swimming pools in NSW and the ACT continues to be prevented from participating in such important discussions which have resulted in the recent legislative changes.”
“The NSW State Government is well aware that all other SPASA state associations with the exception of NSW, have and continue to work alongside their respective state Governments in their goal to improve safety in and around swimming pools. Declining drowning statistics are evident particularly in WA and QLD where those SPASA states has been actively engaged alongside other stakeholders to improve public health and safety as it relates to the swimming pool and spa industry.”
"The State Government has ignored advice from SPASA NSW and other key stakeholders by simply focussing just on a fencing regime rather than devising a holistic approach which includes all crucial basics of drowning prevention, such as supervision, education and water familiarisation,” says Dassakis.
For further information:
Spiros Dassakis, SPASA NSW CEO
T: 02 9630 6300
M: 0449 065 841
SPASA NSW CEO, Spiros Dassakis has been involved on numerous industry related reform committees, sat on several government advisory groups and has represented the industry on the following Australian Standards:
AS1926.1 Swimming Pool Safety - Safety Barriers
AS1926.2 Swimming Pool Safety - Location of Safety Barriers
AS1926.3 Swimming Pool Safety - Water Recirculation Systems
AS2610.1 Spa Pools - Public Spas
AS2610.2 Spa Pools - Private Spas
AS/NZS 2416.1 Water Safety Signs and Beach Safety Flags
AS/NZS 2416.2 Water Safety Signs and Beach Safety Flags
AS/NZS 2416.3 Water Safety Signs and Beach Safety Flags
AS 1900 Flotation Aids for water familiarisation & swimming tuition