Southern suburbs among worst ranked for overdue pool barrier inspections

Hannah CrossSound Telegraph
Royal Life Saving WA estimates three toddlers will fatally drown every year on average in WA.
Camera IconRoyal Life Saving WA estimates three toddlers will fatally drown every year on average in WA. Credit: Astrid Volzke/WA News

Two cities in Perth’s southern suburbs have some of the State’s highest percentages of overdue pool barrier inspections according to new data released by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

The Cities of Kwinana and Mandurah are among the top 10 metropolitan areas with the least inspected private pools, sitting at seven and 10 respectively, in a list of 139 local government areas across WA.

A report from DMIRS’ Building and Energy Division found as of June, 30 2021, nearly 80 registered pools in the Kwinana area were overdue for safety barrier inspection, 4.4 per cent of the city’s pools. The City of Mandurah had 111 overdue pools, making up 2.2 per cent of the city’s registered pools.

Shockingly, the City of East Fremantle took out top spot with 46 per cent of pools overdue for inspection in the metro area.

City of Kwinana chief executive Wayne Jack said some pools weren’t inspected due to COVID-19 restrictions and lack of response from pool owners.

“Those inspections have now been completed and follow up work is ongoing to attend to the approximate half-a-dozen remaining pools which are still yet to be inspected,” Mr Jack said.

City of Mandurah acting chief executive Jude Thomas also attributed the delay in inspections to COVID-19 and said the City had a “strong commitment to pool compliance and safety”.

“In the lead up to Christmas and the holiday season, the City of Mandurah urges owners to ensure that the required safety barrier is in place around their pool, temporary pool and/or spa, and that, in particular, gates function properly and are not left propped open,” Ms Thomas said.

Local governments are required to inspect private pool safety barriers every four years after an Ombudsman WA report found 8639 private pools were overdue for inspection in mid-2015.

The Building and Energy Division anticipates this data will become a mandatory reporting requirement for local governments.

“Building and Energy has examined the possibility of mandating the reporting of pool inspections by local governments under the Building Regulations 2012, which are administered by the Minister for Commerce,” a DMIRS spokesperson said.

“This is currently under consideration as part of a broader reform package relating to pool barrier safety.”

Royal Life Saving WA estimates three toddlers will fatally drown every year on average in WA and for every child that dies from drowning, another 13 are admitted to hospital following a non-fatal drowning. More than half of these occur in home swimming pools.

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