Pool Safety Laws (NSW) | Armstrong Legal

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This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

Pool Safety Laws (NSW)


New South Wales pool safety laws are contained in the Swimming Pools Act 1992. The laws mandate that all pools must be fenced and registered.

Under the Act, “swimming pool” means “an excavation, structure or vessel that can be filled with water to a depth of more than 30cm and that is solely or principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity”.

The Act applies to indoor and outdoor swimming pools at premises where there is a residential building, portable home, or tourist and visitor accommodation. It applies to existing and planned swimming pools.

Pool registration

The owner of a premises on which a swimming pool is located must ensure all prescribed pool information is entered on the state’s pool safety register. The information must be provided to the registry or the local council. A maximum fine of 20 penalty units ($2200) applies for non-compliance.

Pools at houses

Pool safety laws apply to existing or planned swimming pools. The owner must ensure the pool is surrounded at all times by a child-resistant barrier that separates the pool from the house and that is designed, built, installed and maintained in accordance with the prescribed pool safety standards. A maximum fine of 50 penalty units ($5500) applies for non-compliance.

An exemption applies to pools built:

  • before 1 August 1990;
  • before 1 July 2010
    • on less that 230 square metres of land;
    • on more than 2 hectares of land;
    • on properties that front a large body of water such as a river, canal, lake, reservoir, or the ocean

as long as access to the pool from the house is at all times restricted in accordance with the prescribed pool safety standards.

Pools at portable homes and tourist and visitor accommodation

The owner must ensure the pool is surrounded at all times by a child-resistant barrier that:

  • separates the pool from the home or accommodation and from any adjoining premises, public or private;
  • is located immediately around the swimming pool;
  • contains no structure apart from the pool and ancillary structures such as diving boards and pool filtration plants;
  • is designed, built, installed and maintained in accordance with the prescribed pool safety standards.

A maximum fine of 50 penalty units ($5500) applies for non-compliance.

Indoor pools

The owner of any premises on which an indoor pool is located must ensure access to the pool is at all times restricted in accordance with the prescribed pool safety standards. A maximum fine of 50 penalty units ($5500) applies for non-compliance.

Specific requirements for pools

The Act specifies additional pool safety requirements for all swimming pools to those listed above.

Child resistant barriers

The wall of a house or a building used for tourist or visitor accommodation can be used to create part of a child-resistant barrier as long as:

  • the wall contains no opening to allow access to the pool;
  • the wall is designed, built, installed and maintained in accordance with the prescribed standards;
  • the rest of the barrier complies with prescribed standards.

This barrier must be maintained in good repair as an effective and child-resistant barrier. A maximum fine of 50 penalty units ($5500) applies for non-compliance.

A child-resistant barrier is not required around a spa pool as long as access is restricted in accordance with the prescribed pool safety standards.

A local council can grant an exemption from barrier requirements that are impracticable or unreasonable in particular cases.

Certificates of compliance

If the pool is registered and complies with all pool safety laws, a certificate of compliance is issued to the pool owner by a local council or registered certifier. The certificate is valid for 3 years. If the pool does not meet safety laws, the local council or registered certifier must issue a notice that states the reason the pool is non-compliant and the action required to make it compliant. The notice can also state whether the certifier believes the pool is a risk to public safety and warn that a copy of the notice will be sent to the local council immediately or within 6 weeks of the inspection, as necessary.

A local council can direct a pool owner to take action within a reasonable time to ensure the pool complies with safety laws. A maximum fine of 50 penalty units ($5500) applies for non-compliance.

Mandatory pool inspections by local councils

Local councils are required to take steps the ensure they are notified of the existence of all swimming pools in their areas, to promote pool safety laws and to investigate complaints about breaches of the laws.

A local council or registered certifier must inspect a swimming pool at visitor and tourist accommodation at least once every 3 years, but a pool owner can request an inspection at an earlier time.

If the pool is registered and complies with all pool safety laws, a certificate of compliance is issued.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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