1 Oct 2015

Pool safety plans 'will cause drownings'

3:28 pm on 1 October 2015

New pool safety legislation going through parliament is full of loopholes and will cause more drownings, the former Children's Commissioner says.

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Photo: 123RF

The bill aims to reduce compliance costs by $17 million, but the Government said it would not be at the expense of safety.

However former Children's Comissioner Ian Hassell disagrees, saying the bill had been sloppily drafted, with things such as the definition of a pool providing loopholes.

He said the bill watered down protection measures that had reduced the number of toddlers drowning at home.

The bill would replace spa pool fences with child-resistant covers and have councils inspect swimming pools every five years.

Under existing rules inspections are either every three years, or not at all.

The bill would also introduce a new enforcement regime, with infringement notices being the preferred option.

He said it was hard enough getting people to accept the need for pool safety legislation and the new bill would make people less stringent with their pools.

Mr Hassell said he was also concerned about who was allowed to provide exemptions to pool safety requirements.

The Bill is open for public submissions and a report is due March 2016.