Swimming pool fencing in NSW: who is checking compliance?

Rebecca Mitchell, Katrina Haddrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Issue addressed: Lack of appropriate swimming pool fencing is often found to be a causal factor contributing to the drowning of young children. Local councils are responsible for the enforcement of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 in New South Wales (NSW), yet no consistent approach to enforcement exists.
Methods: A survey of local councils in NSW was conducted during June-August 2002. The survey included questions that aimed to identify what information was collected regarding backyard swimming pools, the form in which this information was stored, and barriers to the enforcement of pool fencing legislation in NSW.
Results: Just over two-thirds of local councils responded to the survey. The type and format of information available regarding backyard swimming pools varied considerably between local government areas. Regular pool fencing inspections were not often conducted and minimal information was kept regarding the compliance status of backyard pool fencing with the Act.
Conclusions: While the vast majority of local councils conduct educational initiatives aimed at improving pool owners’ familiarity with the requirements of the NSW Swimming Pools Act 1992, ambiguities exist in the Act that can make compliance confusing. The effectiveness of the Act is further undermined by the low levels of compliance to its specifications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-72
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Swimming pool fencing
  • Compliance
  • Drowning


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