Queensland pool owners will have to have compliant fences within five years under legislation passed by the State Government.

The new safety laws are an extension of legislation introduced in December 2009.

Brenda Riley reports.

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Drowning is the leading cause of death in Queensland for children between the ages of one and four.

In an effort to boost safety, existing pool owners will be given five years to ensure they comply with the new laws, while new home owners will have 90 days from settlement to get a compliance certificate.

The opposition supports the bill but wants the 90 days shortened.

Dave Gibson, Shadow Minister Planning & Infrastructure: “What they’ve allowed is a 90-day loophole which effectively plays Russian roulette with the lives of our children.”

Child Safe Queensland says while the new laws will help save lives, fencing isn’t the sole solution.

Susan Teerds, Executive Officer of Child Safe Queensland: “The first thing is supervision, parental supervision and the second thing is the barriers, and it’s in combination, because a child can drown beside you if you’re not close enough.”

But the new legislation isn’t just about fencing. It gives safety inspectors greater power of entry and makes the inspection of pools after drownings and other close-call scenarios, mandatory.

Susan Teerds, Executive Officer of Child Safe Queensland: “Thirty-five children have died in backyard swimming pools over the last five years. That’s thirty-five really good reasons that we need to have this legislation.”

The laws have been extended to include state pools, indoor pools and those at hotels and motels… along with caretaker dwellings, spas, caravan parks and even… inflatable pools deeper than 30cm.

Brenda Riley, QUT News.