Confusion grows over new pool laws

CONFUSION surrounds who will be responsible for making sure swimming pools comply with new state laws to come into effect on December 1.

Infrastructure and planning minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced yesterday the new laws, which include mandatory pool safety certificates and inspections, would be in place in time for the first day of summer.

Under the new laws, pool owners will have five years to make sure their pool complies with pool safety standards unless they sell or lease the property first.

But a question hangs over who will be responsible for certifying that pools comply with the standards.

A spokesman for Mr Hinchliffe said the pools would be inspected by local councils and private certified pool inspectors.

He said the inspections would cost pool owners about $90.

But Bundaberg mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said she understood the state government would train up the pool safety inspectors and the council would have access to them.

Cr Pyefinch said the Local Government Association of Queensland was still in talks with the state government to try to get some clarity on enforcement of the laws.

“The new requirements are if a house changes hands or changes renters, we have to remind the new occupiers that they have to meet the pool standards,” she said.

“But it's going to be a nightmare for us to identify these places.

“How do we know if a house has been re-let?”

Cr Pyefinch said the council was also supposed to inform ratepayers every five years that they needed to comply with the pool safety laws.

She said there were still a lot of questions unanswered about councils' responsibilities under the new laws.

“There are still a few curly questions we have got to nut out with the department,” the mayor said.

“This is another example of legislation that has been poorly considered without understanding the full implications about how it is going to be dealt with on the ground.”

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