As the weather gets warmer, homeowners across Australia are starting to take off their pool covers in time for the summer holidays, when many children will spend their days poolside. It is therefore crucial that homeowners are aware of the pool fencing safety regulations in their state, which are constantly updated and revised to reduce the risk of drownings.
In Australia, kids under five years old account for an average 30 drowning deaths per year, most of which occurring in home swimming pools. As a result, since 2010, states and territories in Australia have begun reviewing their swimming pool fencing laws to bring in stricter regulations and inspection programs.
Below we look at the different pool fencing safety standards across Australia.
Pool fencing and barriers are required in NSW, but the requirements differ depending on when the pool was built.
The state government implemented legislation changes in 2016, stating that residential properties with a pool or spa that are for sale or lease must have a certificate of compliance, certificate of non-compliance or an occupation certificate for the pool fencing with the contract.
The Fair Trading website has a full list of pool fencing requirements in NSW.
In Victoria, all residential swimming pools and spas, including inflatable pools and those under construction, must be surrounded by a safety barrier such as a pool fence. As with NSW, the requirements for these fences depend on when the pool was built.
A building permit is required before installing new pool fencing, which must be issued by a registered building surveyor, and work must start within twelve months of the date the permit was issued.
For more information, Kids Safe Victoria has a comprehensive web page on Victorian pool safety laws.
Queensland has some of the strictest pool fencing safety laws in the world, with new legislation implemented in 2010 requiring all swimming pool fences in the state to be inspected and issued with a compliance certificate by 30th November 2015.
As with NSW, all properties being leased or sold must have a swimming pool compliance certificate, while shared swimming pools have to be inspected every two years.
For more information, a PDF guide to pool barrier safety. is available from the Queensland Government.
Western Australia introduced new regulations in May 2016 stating that new spa and swimming pools must have barriers which are compliant with the Regulations and Building Code of Australia. Information on the new pool fencing safety requirements can be found on the Western Australian government website.
Australian Capital Territory
In the ACT, a swimming pool must have a safety barrier that has been certified in accordance with Australian Standards, as well as a Certificate of Occupancy and Use issued by a licensed building surveyor under the Building Act 2004.
An overview of fencing and barrier regulations can be found on the Access Canberra website.
In the Northern Territory there are specific regulations for pools built before 2003, which can either comply with the Community Safety Standard or the modified Australian Standards, and can directly apply for compliance without a Pool Safety Advisor Inspection. Pools built after 2003, however, are required to comply with the Modified Australian Standards and must be certified by a Pool Safety Advisor.
The government website explains these two standards.
South Australia and Tasmania
South Australia and Tasmania do not have state-specific regulations, and instead legislation in these two states is in accordance with the Australian Standard for Swimming Pool Fencing.
It is up to homeowners to ensure they are compliant with the relevant state or territory regulations, as well as Australian law covering swimming pool fencing and barriers. Failure to comply not only places children at risk, but can lead to substantial fines.
Do you have a home swimming pool? Your pool fencing needs to ensure kids can’t access the pool area without the supervision of an adult. If you are in any doubt, or have questions, a local pool fencing installer can tell you more about regulations in your area.