Legislation was recently passed to make the registration of swimming pools and spas mandatory and introduce a new compliance regime to improve swimming pool and spa safety effective 1 December 2019.

The new legislation introduces amendments to require councils to establish and maintain a swimming pool and spa register with new mandatory inspection regime, likely to be every three years.

Under the regulatory changes, pool and spa owners will be required to ensure their safety barriers remain in working order at all times. Additionally, owners will need to register their pool or spa with their local council, and declare that the pool barriers are compliant. A regular regime of inspections will then be enforced.

Landlords will be expected to register pools and spas as owners of properties and to ensure barriers comply with required standards. They can appoint an agent to manage these responsibilities on their behalf.

The changes have been made after consultation with Life Saving Victoria, Kidsafe, the Spa and Pool Association of Victoria, the Royal Life Saving Society and Landscaping Victoria.

Currently the VBA have a voluntary register and an online interactive pool and spa barrier self-assessment tool to enable pool owners to take voluntary action to achieve pool barrier compliance, ahead of the commencement of the new mandatory framework.

Notwithstanding, there will be ample opportunity given to pool owners to bring pools into compliance before enforcement action is taken.