Local government and pool safety laws

In Queensland, local governments play an important role in supporting pool safety.

Local government responsibilities

Local government pool safety laws and exemptions (except disability exemptions) were phased out in 2015.

The current legislation:

  • removes local law-making powers to promote consistent pool safety standards
  • clarifies the responsibilities of private building certifiers to reduce the burden of enforcement on local governments.

Local governments are responsible for:

  • inspecting pools
  • enforcing pool safety laws
  • deciding exemptions.

Local governments have powers relating to:

  • entry to inspect pools
  • prosecution
  • decisions about impracticality exemptions and existing disability exemptions
  • cancellation of pool safety certificates for non-compliant pools
  • in some cases, declaration of areas as remote to minimise inspection costs for pools in remote areas.

Local governments must also:

  • inspect pools if asked by a pool owner by:
    • employing a pool safety inspector in-house
    • sharing a pool safety inspector among local governments
    • contracting to a private pool safety inspector
  • inspect a regulated pool following:
    • an immersion notice from Queensland Health
    • a complaint notice
    • a notice from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
  • give pool safety advisory information to pool owners every 4 years if a pool safety certificate hasn't been in effect (e.g. by sending pool owners a notice or including information on rates notices).

Local governments can charge a cost recovery fee to perform these responsibilities, except for responding to immersion notices or complaint notices. They can also impose on-the-spot fines on pool owners in some cases.

Employing pool safety inspectors

Local governments should ensure some of their officers are trained and licensed as pool safety inspectors.

The laws require local governments to employ or appoint a licensed pool safety inspector if a pool owner asks them to inspect their pool to obtain a pool safety certificate.

All other local government pool safety functions under the laws can be done by suitably trained local government officers.

Pool safety inspectors are licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

Pool safety inspectors must complete the pool safety inspector course and obtain the required professional indemnity insurance (except government employees).

Training courses are approved through the Australian Skills Quality Authority. Find course providers on the Australian Government website.