MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire is recruiting staff to be trained as swimming pool and spa safety inspectors to cope with greater demand under stricter state government safety rules.
On current numbers – and as the November compliance deadline approaches – there are not enough inspectors.
The government introduced new regulations last December to make swimming pools and spas safer and prevent young children from drowning.
Shire municipal building surveyor David Kotsiakos said: “We are currently recruiting suitably qualified staff to ensure we will be able to meet our statutory requirements under the legislation.
“On current numbers, we believe [we] will have insufficient inspectors to cope with the number of inspections required, however the Victorian Building Authority is developing a course specifically for pool safety barriers to increase the number of inspectors in the marketplace.”
The peninsula has a “known” 17,000 pools and spas – reportedly the second most of any municipality in Australia, behind one Sydney suburb.
More than a third of pools are estimated to have been built before June 1994 and these have to be inspected within 12 months.
Pool and spa owners have until Sunday 1 November to register with the council for a one-off fee of $79 or they could cop a $330 infringement notice.
Once registered pool owners will be contacted by the shire and advised how they can organise an inspection of their safety barrier by a registered practitioner and how a compliance certificate can be lodged.
Owners must have a registered building surveyor or inspector certify the continuing compliance of their safety barrier every four years.
Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for young children and in Victoria most fatal drownings of young children occur in backyard swimming pools.
Over the past 20 years in Victoria, 27 children under five have drowned – mostly in private pools and spas. The state coroner found that in at least 20 of these cases the safety barrier was non-compliant, and that this was likely to have played a role in their deaths.
Due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) the deadline for registration was extended by five months from June to acknowledge the extra pressure on families and the increased workload on councils.