Tighter backyard pool rules likely in Gong

Wollongong residents with backyard pools will have to obtain compliance certificates for the lease or sale of their property if the council adopts the draft Swimming Pool Barrier Policy at Monday's meeting.

The policy, which was placed on public exhibition last year, was drafted following changes to NSW state government regulations requiring councils to inspect swimming pools, report compliance levels and implement an inspection program.

As a part of that program, residents would have to pay up to $150 for the council to inspect their pool and issue them with a compliance certificate prior to the lease or sale of their property.

They would pay up to $100 for re-inspection, if the pool did not comply in the first instance.

The council would also be required to inspect pools associated with tourist accommodation and multi-occupancy developments at three-year intervals.

Wollongong City Council – which has 14,000 backyard swimming pools in its local government area – has appointed a pool safety specialist in the wake of these changes.

It is estimated more than 80 per cent of backyard swimming pools in NSW do not comply with the Swimming Pools Act.

Under the new legislation, councils are required to implement a swimming pool barrier inspection program, and report the number of inspections and levels of compliance to the Department of Local Government.

The legislation required pool owners to add their swimming pools to an online register by October 29 last year.

Drowning is one of the major causes of death for NSW children under 5.