Could you be fined $1652 for your backyard?

Victorians have two weeks to register their pools and spas with local council, or risk a fine of up to $1652.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Dimi Ioannou is also urging pool and spa owners to use this time to ensure their barriers and fences meet safety standards.

“Victorians need to register their pool or spa with their local council before 1 June or they risk incurring a hefty fine,” Ms Ioannou said.

“We’re also reminding everyone that safety barriers must be inspected every four years under the state’s new pool and spa safety laws.

“We’re calling on all Victorians to prioritise arranging a qualified person to check if their barriers meet safety standards once they’ve registered their pool or spa.

“It could literally save a child’s life.”

The registration and inspection requirements are part of new laws to improve pool and spa safety that came into effect in Victoria in December 2019.

Do you have a spa or pool in your backyard? Have you had it registered yet?


In NSW, the deadline for registration is 29 October 2013.....with maximum fine being $2,200

Also your pool must be compliant  to sell your property

$1652 would be cheap when you consider that somebody could drown in your pool , that would be lot more costly

I wonder how they determine the cost of a fine. I mean the digits of 1652, is it somebodies birthdate?

No Lescol, fines, in Victoria at least, are expressed as penality units. The penality for each offence is so many units. Each year the value of a unit is adjusted by inflation etc so the fines levied automatically escalate at the same rate. For instance if a fine for each offence is stated to be a specific amount then to increase that fine to cover inflation requires a change of law for each offence. If the fine is expressed as penalty units only the value of the penalty unit needs to be amended to increase, or decrease (ha ha), all fines. If inflation is say 2.5% then the  fine  of $1652 could be increased next the year by $41 to $1693  'Tis simple, I presume each state has a similar arrangement.

I wonder how many steel fences and gates will collapse within 4 years? According to statistics, the average homeowner in NSW sells their home in 7 years and this could be the time for a certificate from council or a qualified person to certify the safety aspects of a pool fence. Maybe allow estate agents to be qualified to inspect a pool fence as they would be inspecting rental properties at least once per year. Those properties occupied by the owners could have the selling agent call around each year to wave the flag for their company and inspect the pool fence at no cost. Estate agents knock on doors in our area quite often. The charge would be minimal which, I'm certain, would not be the case where a council or state employee would charge.

Our council, some years ago, decided to appoint a signs inspector with a salary and a fully serviced council vehicle. The system before that was that a building inspector would inspect any signs that were reported as being in breach of guidelines. The building inspector would call around when in the area, check the signage and either write to the complainant or talk to the sign's owner depending on whether it cpmlied or not. Casual maybe but effective without ruffling any feathers. Anyway, the new inspector was diligent and upset a lot of people with his policing of signs and issuing infringement notices rather than do what the previous inspector did; a quiet word. In fact the new inspector was so good at fund raising that 12 months later a second inspector was appointed. The point of this story is that there will need to be a position created for a pool inspector, a vehicle supplied and to what end. What is wrong with the current system that has caused this legislation?

It maybe Horace that what is wrong with the current system is the number of children, usually infants, who drown in backyard swimming pools. If you choose to have a swimming pool then you also choose to accept the implications of your decision, which includes periodic inspections of pool safety. Having had an aboveground pool in the past I would suggest the cost of maintaining the safety of the pool is not a significant factor in the overall cost of owning a pool.

If you own a motor vehicle it is incumbent on you to maintain that vehicle in a roadworthy condition. When I was living in NSW this required an annual inspection and a 'pink skip' before the vehicles annual re-registered. It is no different to a pool.

I agree, Eddy, that safety is a critical factor and the death of a child through drowning in the family pool is one too many. My point is that there doesn't appear to be a spike in backyard pool incidents so why do new regulaions need to be enforced.

Horace, I would have thoight that the death of one child is enough of a spike to justify additional safety processes. Would you agree? Sorry, a rhetorical question, of course you would agree.

What's caused this? A need to employ university graduates with useless degrees that are of no value in the workplace!

Like many positions in federal,state and local government. They are employed to dream up more and more red tape and forms to be filled for no added value!

Pedro, I refer you to my comment in reply to Horace's posting. I suggest the need to protect children from unneccessary injury or death caused by the inattention or negligence of others has a lot to do with it.

We live near the Ocean, thus do not need a pool, still waiting for the council to fence the beaches in. We have 40 km in front of us, so they should get busy before they get Blackburn on their case, eh? An extra $5000 for your property owners for the council to make it happen.


There is a lot of difference between a pool and the beach. For a start a pool may be unsupervised when accessed by chidren. At the beach children, particularly small toddlers, would or should be closely superised by their parents or those in charge of them. At most beaches the access to the water is gradual, it is unlikely that a toddler would actually get into deep water before their natural instincts detered them. At a pool a child may fall into between 0.5 metre to 2 metre of water, deep enoiugh for the child to be unable to get out of the water. There have been children drowned in dams on agricultural properties but the need to fence these is problematic and may  rely on the good sense of the farmer, or pressure from his wife, to decide whether to fence a dam.


One thing is for sure, if you are an landlord you would fill them in and turn them into a garden


To make a comment, please register or login

Preview your comment