Commerce Minister media statement – Refreshed rules for pool safety barriers

Media statement from Commerce Minister Sue Ellery

  • Changes to streamline and clarify rules for private swimming pool safety barriers
  • Extensive consultation as part of a comprehensive review of pool barrier laws

The Cook Government is improving the safety of private swimming pools by implementing the recommendations from a review of private pool safety barrier requirements. The review was commissioned following an Ombudsman Western Australia report on reducing deaths of children by drowning.

Amendments to the Building Regulations 2012 will remove the need for a building permit for the installation of most fences used as safety barriers.

The new laws, which take effect on June 21, will instead require the local government to inspect swimming pools within 30 days of installation to ensure the fences are compliant.

This is a more effective means of ensuring compliance with the building standards from the outset. Local governments will still be required to conduct a four yearly physical inspection and compliance check.   

Under the new laws, local governments will need to re-inspect properties within 60 days if safety barriers are found to be non-compliant. Local governments must also provide Building and Energy with information about overdue pool barrier inspections.

The changes were made following a public consultation which took place in 2022 following the commencement of drafting changes in 2021.

The reforms complement the work the Cook Government has accomplished in response to the Ombudsman report including professional development for pool inspectors and monitoring of local governments.

More information on pool safety barriers is available at  

Building and Energy's Progress report - Local governments' periodic inspections of private swimming pool safety barriers 2022/23 can also be viewed here.

Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Sue Ellery:

"Tragically, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for young children in Australia and most of these devastating incidents happen in private swimming pools.

"Our Government took the Ombudsman's recommendations seriously and moved to implement changes to improve safety around private swimming pools.

"Homeowners can also play their part to ensure pool gates are secured and that safety barriers are well maintained.

"While close and active supervision by an adult remains the best safety measure to keep young children safe around water, pool safety barriers play a vital role in restricting access."


Building and Energy
Media release
15 Feb 2024

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