Swimming Pool Safety

Recent changes to laws applying to Swimming Pools in New South Wales

Recap on existing Laws

From 1 May 2013 every swimming pool owner in New South Wales is required to register their pool on the New South Wales State Governments online register.

Pool Owners who fail to register their pool may face fines of up to $220.00

New Laws from 29 April 2016

These laws apply to selling and leasing of properties with a swimming pool.  These changes have been introduced to promote the safety of children under the age of five around backyard swimming pools.

The following fact sheets have been provided to explain the changes and the obligations for different parties involved in the sale or lease of properties with a Swimming Pool:

Five centimetres of water is all it takes for a child to drown

It's a startling fact that a child can drown in as little as five centimetres of water. In Australia, two children die every week by drowning. Seventy precent of those are in backyard swimming pools. It's an avoidable tragedy.

New South Wales pool owners are required to make sure their pools comply with the Swimming Pools Act 1992. The Act requires all new swimming pools to be separated from surrounding buildings by a child-resistant barrier that complies with Australian Standards.

You should be aware that, to prevent drowning and other accidents, there is no substitute for constant adult supervision of children in and around swimming pools. Also, if you have a swimming pool, you should be familiar with first aid and resuscitation techniques.

This summer the message is simple: Check your pool fences and never take your eyes off children around water.

Making sure your pool fence is compliant

Does your pool fence meet the following measurements?

  • 1200mm - the minimum height of your pool fence
  • 900mm the minimum width of the non-climbable zone
  • 100mm - the maximum distance between the bars
  • 100mm the maximum distance between the bottom of the fence and the ground

They're just some of the requirements you need to meet to make sure your fence is compliant.

Once your pool fence is compliant, regular maintenance is required to keep it that way. Weather conditions and ground movements can compromise the integrity of your fence over time.
Inspect your fence regularly and make sure it still meets the Australian Standards at all times.

Pool fencing - instructional videos and the Samuel Morris Foundation

The Samuel Morris Foundation, along with Kids Health at Westmead has produced a series of short instructional videos that outline pool fencing responsibilities. The following links will take you to YouTube videos that teach you everything you need to know about making sure your pool fence is compliant.

Chapter 1 tells the touching story of Samuel Morris who nearly lost his life after falling into a pool when a faulty pool fence gave way. The Samuel Morris Foundation has been set up in his honour and helps advocate for pool safety.

Swimming Pool Guidelines

Information regarding swimming pool applications, pool safety requirements and Australian Standard swimming pool barrier regulations is available from:

Note: To access the Australian Standard on Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools click on the above link and enter your email address. An authentication email will be sent to your nominated email account.

Please be advised that access to the Standard is limited to three persons at any given time, therefore multiple attempts may be required to access the information.

Is your farm safe?

Farmsafe Australia has launched a new campaign to educate farm owners about the importance of play safe areas if they have dams on their properties. Each year in Australia, 5 to 6 children drown in farm dams and water bodies. Farmsafe advise that a securely fenced house yard, supported by active supervision, is one of the best ways to help prevent a toddler drowning - or wandering into the path of farm vehicles and machinery.

More information on the Farmsafe water safety campaign is available from the Farmsafe website