Regulating private pool and spa safety

Overview

We plan to determine whether councils effectively implement private pool and spa safety barrier regulations.

Why this is important

In Victoria, drowning is the most common cause of preventable death in children under the age of 5, and home swimming pools are the most common location. Between January 2000 and May 2019, 27 young Victorians drowned in private swimming pools and spas. After a lack of adult supervision, the Victorian Coroner found that non-compliant safety barriers were the single biggest contributing cause.

In 2019, amendments to the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2018 gave councils new responsibilities for enforcing private pool and space safety. All pool and spa owners must register with their local council and organise a building inspection to determine if their safety barrier is compliant. Councils are responsible for administering the new scheme and have powers to take enforcement action.

What we plan to examine

This reasonable assurance performance audit will examine how well councils undertake their building regulation responsibilities, with a specific focus on private pool and spa safety. The Victorian Government required councils to establish a register of swimming pools and spas by 1 November 2020. We plan to focus this engagement on completion of the oldest category based on its expected completion date of 1 June 2022. 

We propose to scope City of Greater Bendigo, Melton City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and Surf Coast Shire Council into this engagement. 

Timeframe

2022‒23

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