Phil Montague is a pool safety inspector who got into the industry through his work as a police officer and fire fighter.
Phil Montague is a pool safety inspector who got into the industry through his work as a police officer and fire fighter. Nicholas Falconer

Shared pool owners get certified

PULLING lifeless children from pools and waterways was traumatic for Phil Montague.

The former Noosa policeman and fire fighter lived through the heart-wrenching experience several times, most of them without happy endings.

The reality is, drowning is the most common cause of death for Australian toddlers aged between one and four.

Thirty-five children under five drown in residential swimming pools each year, and there are around 50 immersions that often result in permanent brain damage.

These statistics drove Mr Montague to assist in improving pool safety standards to prevent more tragedies from occurring.

He assisted in bringing the Noosa Pool Safety Audit to the former Noosa Shire Council in 2006 and has been actively driving the education of new pool safety inspectors through lending his knowledge to the RTO Assenttecs training courses, travelling throughout the state delivering four-day courses to budding pool safety inspectors.

The Noosa Pool Safe Inspections and Compliance director said the State Government’s new pool safety laws were sending pool-owners into a spin.

Laws were introduced in December 2009 for all new pools and the latest round, which came into effect on December 1, 2010 were designed to bring all existing pools up to the current standard.

The laws require mandatory safety inspections.

Mr Montague said some of the biggest misunderstandings surrounded the obligations of property owners.

Short-term accommodation shared pools will only have six months to obtain a pool safety certificate.

“Mum and dad-owned pools are not required to do anything in the next five years,” he said.

“The trigger is when they rent or sell the property.

“Solicitors and the REIQ are on board this year and due diligence is referred back to the vendor to obtain the pool safety certificate.

“Where you used to get contracts subject to pest and building integrity, they are now adding the pool safety certificate in on that as a requirement.

“While there is room for negotiations, where the sale can still be completed with the purchaser given 90 days to reach compliance, it all predominantly rests with the vendor.”

There will be a six-month phase-in period for pools in short-term accommodation and two years for other shared pools.

Mr Montague said owners requiring immediate attention where private pools on properties that are leased for holidays were in “panic stations” as the new regulations do not allow properties to be leased without a current pool safety certificate.

“If there is an immersion incident injury in a swimming pool on a property with a Class 1 to 4 building from something as it stands now, the legislation will fall squarely on the pool owners,” he said.


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