Pool Fence Laws Queensland, Australia: Most Ridiculous in the World?

Some people think Australia is a bit of a nanny state. Sometimes, I’m inclined to agree.

The other weekend a couple of friends of mine went to an outdoor music festival. One of them took an umbrella with her. Very wise, when it rains here, it really pours!

Except security made her throw it in the bin before they allowed her in. Apparently, it could have been used as a weapon.

How mad is that?

Probably not as mad as our swimming pool fence laws here in Queensland. Remember, each state in Australia can, for some things, make their own laws. A while back, Queensland decided to come up with tougher swimming pool fence laws. In doing so, I believe Queensland now has the strictest pool fence laws in the whole wide world.

A little background.

These pool fence changes in Queensland have come about due to campaigning by the parents of a two-year-old little girl, Hannah Plint, who drowned in her swimming pool in October 2007.

The pool was fenced and did have a safety gate. The little girl, who had been left unattended briefly, picked up a plastic chair and moved it to the gate before standing on it so she could reach the latch.

It’s a very, very sad story.

But the irony is that all these new laws will not prevent the same thing from happening again. Nowhere does the law say you must bolt down every movable object in the garden; I have read the entire 39 page PDF regarding the rules and also searched the document for ‘furniture’, ‘chair’ and ‘movable’.


Queensland now has an army of Pool Fence Inspectors charging around $250 to dish out certificates. I paid $99 to one of them the other week so that he could advise me on how to comply as I set about the task of replacing my old pool fence.

The reason I sought his advice is because I want to use my 3 metre high sandstone boulder wall as pool fence across the back…..

WallThis, apparently, is a problem.

Now, do bear in mind that these laws are in place to protect children five years and younger.

Anyway, the problem is that our toddler may be an experienced rock climber. Any gap of 10 mm or more, where the slope is less than 60°, is regarded as a step hold. So, to prevent our mountaineer from climbing up the wall from the non-pool side and down it again on the other side, I need to construct a non-scalable fence at a right angle to my boulder wall of 2.4 metres in height and 1.2 metres wide.

Where this non-scalable wall does join the boulder wall, there can be no gaps greater than 10 mm wide in case our toddler can squeeze his little toes into that gap and again scale the 2.4 metre high structure.

Alternatively, I could attach a piece of Perspex flat up against the boulder wall of 2.4 metres in height and 900 mm wide.

If I don’t like either of those ideas, I could always fill in all those gaps between the boulders with cement, ensuring that I observe the 10 mm/60° rule.

However, as my wall gets lower and lower further to the left, like this….

Wall slope… there is a big concern that our little nipper may start climbing the wall from its low point and walk all the way round until he is above the pool area and then simply climb down the wall into the pool area.

To overcome this, I need to construct 1 metre wide 60° angled ‘roof’ that overhangs the wall by 200 mm, so that any attempt to cross it by our young child would result in him sliding down the roof and falling 3 metres to the floor.

But, and this is the important thing, he would land outside of the pool area. The corners of this roof should be blocked off to prevent him from crawling under it.

There are other challenges I need to overcome before my fence meets the new requirements. My pool pump, which is outside of the pool area…

Pool pump..is too close to the fence. Nipper might climb onto it and then over the fence, so the pool pump needs to be fenced in or the fence in front of it raise another 900 mm.

Oh, and if next door had a tree that was within 900 mm of my fence, I’d need to ask them to chop it down. Otherwise, as Murphy’s Law dictates, a toddler visiting next door’s house will almost certainly climb the tree, stretch across, get over the 1.8 metre high fence and therefore gain access to my pool.

It’s crazy, and I’m not the only one to think so.

There is an article about a man who is refusing to comply with these new regulations and last time I looked there were over 500 comments. Most are supporting his views. You can read the article here.

Our children are very precious and need to be protected. But remember, these new regulations would not have saved the life of Hannah Plint, and many people believe that pool fences give people a false sense of security.

Meanwhile, our local public swimming pool is allowed to operate on what I believe they call “low patronage mode”, which means no lifeguard is on duty.

There is no gate to prevent anyone from wandering in off the street to get to the pool.


The truth is, you can’t beat 1) never letting your young child out of your sight and 2) teaching them how to swim as soon as possible. These are the best ways we can protect our young children.

So I’m sorry, Queenslanders pool fence laws are an Australian bad thing.

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{ 60 comments… add one }
  • Chris September 25, 2017, 11:12 am |

    It would be really good if all Inspectors knew the rules. One just told me that I needed to fence my garden off from the canal. I even showed her the relevant page on the Regs that say a body of water such as a canal is a barrier and she still wouldn’t have it!

    • BobinOz September 25, 2017, 8:39 pm |

      Ha ha, that’s funny, maybe the government would like to fence off all the beaches then 🙂

      I think your particular inspector must have dozed off during the weekend training event he probably paid through the nose for so that he can become a pool inspector. Scary, isn’t it?

  • Cam July 4, 2017, 8:34 pm |

    Hi Bob.
    Some great discussion mate, but please remove those Sydney images if you are indeed living in Brisbane. Egads…Chap! 😉 I have also had to negotiate the pool fence laws on 3 occasions. They can be tricky and I’m not sure they take into account a range of other dangerous situations such as dams, ponds, creeks through properties etc. and the broader spectrum of dangerous places open to children in private and public places – which in Australia are boundless, but these relate to private properties, so there is a distinction. Water is so dangerous and unassuming, anything that can make its presence in a typically safe place like a back yard is worthy of support and, as you know, pools of all sorts are normal in Brisbane. I recognise completely you respect the concepts of commonality and convenience and also protecting the vulnerable. I do feel a bit sorry about your rock wall, it looks like it would take a long mission by a very nimble kid to breach it, but those sorts of kids do pop up, and to me your filter pump with the pipes on the fence looks like a big fat step up and over. I’m increasingly becoming a critic 😉 so I add that your point about movable objects is excellent – lean a push bike, BBQ, esky etc up against that fence and it is immediately a ladder… so it’s hard to see the general applicability of all the rules. Agreed. I am aware there have been many inquests into child deaths in pools (and all sorts of other dangerous places) which I think led to these regulations. Parental supervision is the key but in many cases, good people, are distracted or relaxed around social playful environments involving their children. So hard to regulate against placement of an esky or pushbike even if it diminishes the integrity of the pool fence rules. Aside from watching kids, the bottom line is people need to be aware of the laws prior to doing the work. Do your homework first, don’t complain AFTER you have spent money and gone and done everything against regulations. Roberto – when in Rome . . . Welcome and thanks for leading such a good discussion 😉

    • BobinOz July 5, 2017, 5:56 pm |

      Well, in answer to your when in Rome thing, yes, I certainly have followed the rules as ridiculous as they are. I had to construct a barrier 1 metre wide angled at 60° across the top of that wall above the pool fence so that our trespassing little toddler could not navigate his way (or hers) from the base of the rock wall all the way around to the other side of the fence before dropping down the 2 metre plus high construction into the pool area side.

      I’m pleased to also report that no toddler died attempting to get into my pool area whilst I lived in that house, but I have since moved. If I were actually in Rome though, unlike the Romans, I would stop at zebra crossings for pedestrians 🙂 🙂

      I’m pleased also announce my new house has a fully compliant swimming pool complete with pool certificate. I’m a proper law-abiding Queenslander 🙂

      I still think some of the regulations are pretty harsh though and over the top. We had pretty strong pool fence laws before they updated them a couple years ago. The people I feel sorry for or those who have swimming pools who did used to pass the regulations, but now they simply can’t without major construction work or relying on neighbours removing trees. That must be quite annoying.

      And yet still, as we know, our toddler can climb over the fence with the help of the connected hands to form a step by another toddler. Or even grab that esky you mentioned and used as a step. Parental care of all non-swimming children is the best answer as far as I can see. Thinking your pool is 100% secure can be extremely dangerous.

      Anyway, what’s Sydney pictures? There are no Sydney pictures in the above article.

  • Taryn July 4, 2017, 7:58 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    I have recently moved to Brisbane (with a lot of help from your amazing site actually!) and was looking into getting an inflatable pool for the summer months…I can’t believe how crazy all of the rules are! We have no children, it was purely an idea to keep cool for ourselves.
    If I was getting an inflatable pool, that will probably be emptied at the end of the day, would we still need fencing? Also, from what I can tell, this fencing has to be permanent fencing, as opposed to say the mesh fencing that you might see in Florida homes?


    • BobinOz July 5, 2017, 5:42 pm |

      Glad to hear my site has helped you with your move, I can help some more with your question, but is not what you want to hear.

      The law is very strict about this in Queensland, even for inflatable pools. Anything with 30 cm or more of water in it will require a permanent pool fence around it that complies fully with all the regulations.

      It doesn’t matter that you have no kids, it doesn’t matter that you might empty it the end of every day, it doesn’t matter that it’s inflatable, it also doesn’t matter if you live next door to a lake or a dam or a river or a creek with much deeper water levels and no fencing at all. They don’t have to follow the rules, houses do.

      It is rather harsh, and I do think many of the rules are over the top, but they exist so we are stuck with them. Fines can be very steep if you get caught. May I suggest a cold shower instead? 🙂

      Cheers, Bob

      • Beverley July 5, 2017, 7:34 pm |

        I agree they are stupid fencing a $59. Pool How ever. Australia has a high. Rate
        Of. Children. Drowning. In all pool. A child can. And have drowned in a bucket of water. Australian children love. Water I. Think more then anything
        So as soon as a very. Young child starts. To walk. Theyl. Learn. To swim
        It’s our. Lifestyle. A pool. Fence. Worth about. $1500 Some less some more depends on the pool. A cihilds life. Priceless And you don’t want to spend the money we havebeautiful beaches Public pools. And. Theme park. Water parks. Be greatful the Australian
        Government laws. Protects Our children

        • BobinOz July 6, 2017, 7:07 pm |

          I’m not actually against pool fence laws, I think it’s sensible to have them in place and I’m all for protecting our children. Unfortunately I believe the latest updates to the pool fence laws in Queensland, making them one of the toughest in the world, just makes compliance ridiculously difficult and expensive at times without making any significant safety improvements.

          My view is that it is the parents responsibility to keep an eye on their children and that they shouldn’t rely on a fence to do the job for them. Fencing is important because they prevent a child from entering the pool area without resistance; if they can just walk to the pool any time then no parent of a child who couldn’t swim would be able to take their eye off them for one second.

          With a pool fence though, a small child would have to start moving chairs or an esky around, or maybe start climbing a rock wall, which gives the watchful parent a chance to see what’s going on and stop it. The old pool fence laws were perfectly sufficient for that.

          These new laws just seem to have created jobs for inspectors to issue certificates without these laws significantly improving any safety aspect at all. For that I’m not grateful to the Australian Government, or in this case the Queensland Government at all.

        • Sharon July 6, 2017, 9:59 pm |

          Sorry Beverley – totally disagree, and you are wrong. Read the latest Life Saver Annual Report. 35 children under 14 drowned. Of those, 5 in a spa, 15 in a pool, 5 in a lagoon, 5 in creek/dam,1 other. 59% of these – that is more than HALF – were solely due to lack of supervision. Why should responsible pool owners constantly have to face hefty fees and excessive rules because of irresponsible parents/carers? Why aren’t parents/carers charged for their negligence?

  • Sharon Rideout March 5, 2016, 9:11 pm |

    We have a pool fence that has been inspected and past..the neighbour has put up a fence at the back of there property that allows inderviduals to climb it and get onto our property….we have to pay for their fence to be made certified …..this is ridiculous.

    • BobinOz March 6, 2016, 9:32 pm |

      I couldn’t agree more Sharon, it’s absolute madness!

  • Dean Vegas December 11, 2015, 6:36 pm |

    All it would take is for Australians to unite and say no to the government.
    If we got 200,000 Australians to pull their pool fences down on the same day and all refuse to pay any fines, then you would see how quickly the government backs down. It should be a law that all kids must learn to swim and also people with young ones should have pool fencing but don’t punish the people with no children including retirees. We all say it LOOK AFTER YOUR CHILDREN!!!

    • BobinOz December 11, 2015, 9:40 pm |

      Well, I’m not sure we should all be pulling down our fences, but I’m behind the sentiment. Maybe we should all just refuse to get the certificates and refuse to acknowledge the law on this.

      But of course, the chances of getting everyone to join in = no chance.

      • Bev November 15, 2016, 9:03 pm |

        I agree. I bought. A $59 pool. I have no young children. In my house. I have no young children go to,my house. But. I have. People who,love around me to.
        They have pools. Some with fencers some not. But why should I. Not be able to,put a.
        A small pool. In my. Place. Be in the garage. As its to,exercise. In I have arthritics
        And. Found. Walk hard. So why do I have to pay. Over. Well over. $700. For a $59. Pool
        No one will see or use. Wrong. Ok. Large pools yes if you have children yes. I agree
        But. If you have no,children and a very small pool. Stupid.

        • BobinOz November 16, 2016, 5:37 pm |

          Yes. Totally mad. Councils do not need to fence rivers, billabongs, creeks or reservoirs, but you need to fence your inflatable pool. Stupid.

  • George November 13, 2015, 2:12 pm |

    Bob, you’ve nailed it, as most of the replies also indicate. It’s time to step up and simply say no to government bullying. I have just drafted a one page letter to the Premier with a simple 4 point plan. As soon as I get the final input I’ll be launching it before this “deadline” (awful word in current context) at the end of Nov. Btw, I too also wrote to my Local LNP Member over three years ago and never got a response. Gutless & inept. Both sides are culpable and we need to stop kids drowning. I have a solution and look forward to getting it out there. Pool fence laws don’t work because they’re looking the wrong way. George

    • BobinOz November 26, 2015, 10:20 pm |

      Good on ya George, if you can keep us up-to-date on this one, I’m sure we are all very interested how it works out. If there’s anything I can do to support your plan, just let me know.

      Something needs to be done to reverse out of this knee-jerk reaction to a very sad event from the past which could have been avoided, but not by these ridiculous rules.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Paddo November 11, 2015, 8:21 pm |

    I’m glad I’m not the only one to be amazed by the petty regulations. I had a ‘Pool Inspector’ come out to assess whether fencing I had ordered would comply, and after a list of observations regarding ‘non-climbable zones’ 10mm ‘footholds’ etc. etc. etc. he actually suggested that the easiest option might be for us to sell our home prior to the new laws on 30 November 2015, whereby the buyer could agree to accept the pool fencing responsibilities.

    • BobinOz November 26, 2015, 10:01 pm |

      How ridiculous is that? Can’t say I’m surprised though, it’s all ridiculous. Somebody needs to inject some common sense into these silly laws.

  • Susan October 19, 2015, 11:37 am |

    Supervision is the only thing that will stop children drowning. We bought a house with an above ground pool with sides that are over 1.2 metres high and had the regulation fencing as well. I made hubby add an extra barrier to make it 30cm higher still and my back door was always locked with a key unless I was outside with the children. Annoying? Absolutely as I couldn’t clean while they played but that is called parenting. You would not believe the amount of criticism I got from friends and family telling me I was over reacting. The children were taken swimming nearly every day and within one summer they were pretty capable. Still, until they could confidently touch the bottom and swim to the ladder they were not allowed in the back yard alone. They are now excellent swimmers and my floors are still dirty!

    • BobinOz October 19, 2015, 6:10 pm |

      Correct. Supervision is the only way.

      In fact pool fences may give some parents a false sense of security, unaware that two children can easily open a pool gate by one jumping on top of the connected hands, forming a step, of the other.

      Kids as young as three and four years old know that trick, so thinking your children will be safe playing in the garden because you have a pool fence is a dangerous assumption to make.

      Hope you get around to cleaning those floors sometime soon Susan.

  • Susan October 6, 2015, 11:45 am |

    Pool safety is commonsense. So let’s have some commonsense about achieving this aim. Surely if a home owner has an alternative way of providing a safe pool environment (in other words, commonsense) then there should be flexibility within the regulations to allow for sensible achievement of pool safety. It is disquieting to find that compliance with the new regulations is unnecessarily onerous and pedantic. Governments can quite often get things wrong, albeit with the best of intentions. For example pink bats etc. Understandably, the Government will not completely scrap the new regulations. but if enough people can demonstrate that some of the current compliance requirements are unnecessary and a financial burden, then with commonsense consultation, changes could be made without compromising safety. If these sentiments strike a chord with you, let’s get a petition going to at least amend the regulations and the pedantic interpretation of them. After all, we all vote. and there are thousands of disgruntled pool owners in Queensland (and no doubt across Australia). It’s up to us…we can do something or just accept it and pay dearly. We all complain about a nanny State….so let the Government know that despite their best intentions, the outcome in this case is just draconian in its application. An ePetition to the Queensland State Government. Pool safety yes…..but sensibly.

    • BobinOz October 6, 2015, 9:10 pm |

      Before the last state election, the one that the Newman government won, I emailed the LNP through their website and said I was considering where to put my vote in the upcoming election and wondered whether they had any plans to review the over the top current pool fence laws in the state.

      I didn’t even get an answer.

      There is another problem as well, and that’s every state has different pool fence laws, so each would need a separate petition. Like yourself Susan, if something can be done I’m happy to give it a go. I’m also happy to try and get the ball rolling from this website, if it can help.

      The problem we have now in Queensland though is the same labor government who introduced the laws a few years ago are now back in power, I can’t imagine they are ready or prepared to change their minds so soon.

      In other words, we’re stuffed!

  • Jens October 5, 2015, 3:05 pm |

    I don’t know what to do! I would like to keep the pool but the cost of a new fence is pretty high. I could solve the problem by deleting the pool but that requires an engineers cert and planning, concrete removal and filling the hole and final inspect etc so even more costly. Funny thing is that the pool is on a 5 acre block with other 5 acre blocks up and down the road. Each block has a large dam as part of an easement, 7 dams in total with only fencing to keep the horses in. So, it boggles the mind what these laws are supposed to do. If it comes down to supervision of children, the obvious biggest cause of drownings then all the strictest pool fence laws will not stop any drownings at all. Period. Give pool owners a break and stop the red tape.

    • BobinOz October 5, 2015, 9:27 pm |

      Yes, simply doesn’t make sense does it? You raise an interesting point, if you drain all the water out of your pool and as such ‘decommission it’, does that make everything okay?

      Can you then forget about fencing because it is no longer a hole filled with water more than 30 cm deep?

      Obviously a young toddler could then wander into the area and fall into the hole causing a severe injury or even death, but would you have been breaking any laws under those circumstances?

      Makes you wonder.

      • Susie October 6, 2015, 1:43 pm |

        It doesn’t matter if you have a pool and decide not to use it. New rules now is that if ‘any structure has the capacity to hold more than 30 cms water’ – then new pool rules apply. Still have to wonder if they will hit me as my horse troughs are old bath tubs that are 42cms deep. Even this past weekend, drowning incidents were due to no adult supervision.

        • BobinOz October 6, 2015, 9:16 pm |

          So we need pool fences around horse troughs now do we? I run a part-time pet care business here, there are horse troughs everywhere in my area, many of them old baths sitting at ground level, so they definitely need fences.

          Next we would need to train the horses to open the pool fence and make sure the horse knows how to close it properly after he’s had a little drink.

          Absolutely ridiculous!

          • Adam October 19, 2015, 12:25 pm |

            Well, QLD is a police state. Same as the rest of the country. The politicians/public servants who come up with all our laws and regulations seem to forget that they are public servants and nothing more! They seem more interested in pandering to loud mouth minority groups in an attempt to look like they are doing the right thing rather than using common sense and doing what most people couldn’t care less to speak up about. This goes deeper than just pool fencing by the way. We are giving up our rights bit by bit….

            • BobinOz October 19, 2015, 6:16 pm |

              ‘Police state’ is too strong, but nanny state is definitely on the mark. And it does go further than pool fencing, much further. The latest thing is the TPP, that sounds very scary, but that’s another story and possibly one I’ll be writing a post about soon.

              • Jens November 7, 2015, 9:41 pm |

                ‘Police state’ sounds about right when you add all the other freedoms that have been taken away from us. Regardless, people die either way. Whether in a pool because of no supervision or being backed over by a car in the driveway etc… or just natural causes.
                It does seem to me that the fines are a bit too high. What about about the government actually doing what it’s supposed to. Consulting the community and working with families/pool owners rather than just smashing out the fines and deadlines with zero leeway. Funny how the legislators and law enforcers are just human when they make mistakes…..

  • Susan October 4, 2015, 2:22 pm |

    I believe the pool fencing regulations are outrageous…a huge financial burden for something which will not guarantee to stop drownings. We have high fencing all around our property. We live on a canal which has no fencing – open access from the street. We are all complaining but what can we do? If anyone is interested in starting a petition, happy to be contacted by email.

    • sunnyoz October 4, 2015, 5:25 pm |

      Susan – would love to, but know it wouldn’t get any where. The Surf Life Saving Group recently released the drowning figures for last year – I suggest you read it and get VERY angry. The majority of drownings of people under the age of 14 were caused by – lack of adequate supervision, or pool gates propped open!! PLUS a high number of those drownings were in dams, bah tubs, et. What next – ban bath tubs?
      Only in today’s Courier Mail there was an article: father of a young girl who drowned, stating that pool rules need to be stronger. BUT – how did child drown? – because mother left the child unsupervised while she went off to change another kid’s nappy!! WHY complain about pool rules? – NO amount of pool rules can stop stupidity and parent’s OWN FAULT. Because parent couldn’t be bothered supervising child, WE – responsible pool owners – have ridiculous costs to bear. I personally cannot see any relation between the two – because of irresponsible parents, responsible pool owners are hit with cost after cost.
      The new pool rules apply to ‘any structure that has the capacity to hold more than 30cms of water’. My local discount store has stacks and stacks of blow up kids swimming pools, that hold 50cm of water. So LEGALLY – you need to have a Council permit, including fencing, before you can put it up. Stupid, stupid. I am in the process of trying to get my little pool put up, and every time I turn around, there is another – COSTLY – hiccup. Example – 2 x windows just too low – so have to get security screens put on. Cost $390 each. Outside air conditioning unit is 28mms – that’s correct – 28 mils – inside the clear zone. Will cost me approx. $350 to move unit. My 6′ boundary fencing has railings on my side 20cms above ground level. Told it cannot be more than 10cms. But won’t get pool passed with fence as is – told rails are too high. Heaven knows how much that will cost to fix.
      Council can even dictate about pool pumps. Then I have to deal with blatantly wrong information given my Council. I knew fence needed to be approx. 1 meter from the pool so contacted Council for confirmation. Council came back and told me I was wrong – fence needed to be THREE meters from pool, AND that the fence needed to be earthed. II knew this was incorrect, but lengthy delays were wasted. But you try telling a Council they are wrong!! (By the way – fence needs to be no less than 300mm from poo, and if less than 1.25 meters, then fence needs to be earthed. NOT 3 meters.
      Council then advised that I could not put the pool where I wanted it – needed to be move it a few meters back. BUT then the pool hoses to filter were not long enough, and you cannot get longer ones. STILL don’t know what I am going to do – only solution from pool supplier? – glue hoses together. Don’t have much confidence with that.
      I am a senior aged person and no-one else will be using my pool. That is me being responsible. So that means if anyone does drown in my pool – they have trespassed. I have just spent a large amount of money putting in a 6′ colorbond fence, but STILL have to put up a pool fence. WHY, WHY should I have to go to ALL this cost because the majority of drownings are due to irresponsible parents? The majority of people drowned on Australian beaches were due to alcohol. NOTHING has been done about that. Oh – I know why – it is much easier to hit home owners…they stay in the one place, are easy targets. Agree Susan – rules are just a joke, and have absolutely nothing to do with pool safety. Simply & solely a revenue raising exercise only. I have to laugh when the Govt boasts that the pool rules have been made simpler, and instead of over 10 rules, are now only one. BUT the ‘rule/regulation’ is pages and pages long, of totally stupid over kill.

      • BobinOz October 5, 2015, 8:50 pm |

        “Stupid stupid.” That sums it up perfectly sunnyoz, because that’s what these pool fence laws are, stupid stupid.

        • BobinOz October 5, 2015, 8:55 pm |

          Susan, I think sunnyoz is right, we could all start a petition but it wouldn’t get anywhere. The problem is politics, the politicians who brought in these rules, labour if I’m not mistaken, did it to stop toddlers from dying.

          That is a noble cause.

          We all know it’s a rubbish claim though, these rules are not saving lives really, they are just costing many homeowners $$$$ in order to comply with the ridiculous regulations. But the problem with this is that no government is going to reverse those rules because that means they don’t care about the toddlers or, probably more to the point, the revenue created by the regulations and the many inspectors that enforce them and the fines that are issued out to those who don’t comply.

          So, unfortunately, a petition will fall on deaf ears.

  • sunnyoz April 25, 2015, 6:30 pm |

    Go ahead a few years….I have a blood circulation problem and get a bit tired (and poorer) going to my local pool for water exercise. So looked into getting a small 15,000 litre above ground pool costing around $800. Liked this pool as I and one other person could simply erect in a few hours. I have a 6′ fence all around my house (only me in house – NO kids come to my house) with security gates. Went to the Council to find out requirements – and the absolute nonsense and ridiculous rubbish I have to do and get just for this is outrageous!! Talk about a nanny state!! This is from paperwork – I need –
    – Builder’s details & license number
    – Owner builder number
    – 3 sets of plans & documents
    – Site plan (to scale) showing proposed pool, showing distance between boundaries, etc.
    – Engineering Certification
    – Type & Location of Fencing (yes, told I need an additional fence around pool)
    – Type of Pool filter and pumps
    – Certification for electrical earthing
    – Provide site maps showing all water, sewerage, gas connections
    On top of that? – $685 fee to Council. $385 fee to pool Certifier, etc. etc. etc.
    This is a complete & utter joke! And on top of that, my NEIGHBOURS have to comply also – as if I should be held responsible for what is on my neighbours side of the fence? And they want neighbours to get along?
    I ensure my house and house site are child proof. I have been told that all these garbage rules are in CASE a kid gets access to my place. WHY should I be held responsible for kids that trespass on MY land, by illegally gaining access over 6 foot fences?
    I agree with Bob – NO amount of regulations, costs, etc will stop kids from being adventurous. I was told that a kid could climb up a branch of my neighbours house and get access to my pool. So when is that MY problem or responsibility? Whilst I feel sorry for people who have lost children to drowning and by cars reversing (don’t get me started on that – I have to build a front fence to a certain height to cater to this!!) – one question…WHERE ARE THE PARENTS? stop blaming others because you don’t supervise your kids!! Why should WE – responsible home owners – have to pay through the nose just in case you lose control of your kids and they decide to trespass?
    I have made one thing very clear – if I go ahead with my pool, any kid that happens to get access to my pool – I will sue. So their parents better have big pockets.

    • BobinOz April 27, 2015, 3:42 pm |

      I do feel your pain, these are extremely tough pool fence laws. Especially when you have to negotiate with the neighbour in order to comply. I’m all for protecting our kids, and I know these strict laws have been put in place because too many toddlers and young children drown in swimming pools, paddling pools and even in baths. So the state governments and councils quote these tragic incidents as justification for these rules.

      But I really wonder how many of these toddlers and young children have really drowned after trespassing on somebody else’s property by maybe scaling a tree and getting over a six-foot fence? Or even by walking in through an open gate? How many toddlers and young children are there wandering the streets, unaccompanied, unable to swim and yet able to walk or climb wherever they please?

      By the way, you even need a pool fence for an inflatable pool, anything with a water depth over 30 cm. Fines of up to $50,000 apply to those who don’t comply. Meanwhile a billabong or pond, whether in your back garden or in a public place needs no such fencing. Kids drown in those on a regular basis.

      I’ve noticed you still intend going ahead with this pool, good luck, but it would be wise to ensure it complies with the rules because these fines are pretty hefty and are not sure you’ll get away with your trespass counter suing idea.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Crystal Glassbuild November 27, 2014, 9:58 pm |

    @Toby, I completely agree with you. When you have kids at home, pool fencing is a must.

    • BobinOz November 28, 2014, 10:39 pm |

      Of course you think fencing is a must, you sell it. But what Toby actually said is that nothing compares with parental care, he wasn’t in any way saying pool fencing is the way to go.

      So I’ve removed your link to your company, if you’re going to try and get some free advertising, at least say something that contributes to the conversation.

      By the way, for the record, I’m not specifically against pool fencing, but I am strongly against the current and ridiculous compliance regulations and I feel sorry for people like Frustrated above who get put through all this unnecessary expense for no good reason.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Gem June 12, 2013, 8:44 pm |

    I understand your annoyance and the idea that Australia is a nanny state, BUT two things:

    Any full time stay at home mum will tell you that CONSTANT supervision is not possible. How would that floor get swept, the dishes get washed and dinner get made without kids playing in the yard for a while (intermittently checked on). I was recently told by a youth services worker that she thought I was a good supervisor… But my kids regularly play in the yard, the tree house etc as I clean.

    Secondly, I happen to have one of those mountain goat toddlers. Well both of them are intrepid climbers. At 10 months old I found my toddler three metres up the ladder to my 4 year old’s treehouse. He had used pure tummy muscle strength to hoist himself over the first three rungs which were covered! My four year old has been able to hook his toes on the pool style fencing at the front of our yard since he was two years old and scale over!

    Thankfully we don’t have a pool, but I have been so grateful we didn’t move into the other rental we looked at before moving here when our son was two.

    We are now looking at buying a place with a pool, and I can tell you although it is a unit I am considering paying for the whole pool to be refenced more safely because the courtyard has a fence my son could do the toe grab with and scale easily into the pool area :-/

    • BobinOz June 13, 2013, 1:26 pm |

      I think you’re missing the point a bit Gem, which is that no pool fence, whether it complies with these strict rules or not, will keep out an adventurous toddler, especially if they are like yours, intrepid climbers.

      Any child can grab any object big enough to stand on so they can open the pool gate and they are in. It is just not safe to allow your children to play in the garden where there is a swimming pool without supervising them constantly.

      Fencing is only a deterrent, no way can they ever be fool proof and by thinking they are can give you a false sense of security that could end in tragedy.

      When my daughter was younger, she would get her friend to clasp her hands together like a step, then she would climb up and lean over to open the gate. Easy. And dangerous.



      • Gem June 17, 2013, 8:17 pm |

        I remember doing the “foot up” trick. Hehe. Yep so true, where there is a will there’s a way.

        • BobinOz June 18, 2013, 8:00 pm |

          We should stop talking about it now, in case there are any non-swimming toddlers reading 🙂

  • Frustrated March 19, 2013, 4:22 pm |

    After spending over $5,000 on getting our Queensland pool fence compliant in 2011, we have just been told that the government has since changed the laws AGAIN and the fence is no longer compliant and must be replaced within 3 months or we will be fined up to $5,000. This is insane. It was ALREADY insane. How can the average person keep up with this expense, and when will it stop? This is a ‘jobs for the boys’ scenario, I have little doubt. While I struggle to keep my own job, I cannot afford to be creating jobs for people in such a manner. Australians need to voice their opinions about this – enough is enough!

    • BobinOz March 20, 2013, 12:10 am |

      Are you sure these laws have changed again? I just went to the Brisbane councils website after searching for “pool fence regulations Queensland” and it says “The new standard was introduced on 1 December 2010. Pool owners have until 30 November, 2015 to comply with the pool safety laws, or earlier if they sell or lease their property before this time.”

      I couldn’t see any mention of any new or additional laws since 2010, what have they asked you to do?

      I understand your frustration though, I think these rules and regulations are way over the top.

  • Paul August 12, 2012, 3:05 pm |

    Hi Bob, yes the laws do seem somewhat impractical at times. I am curious… who built your fence above your boulder wall? I have up to a 4.5m high boulder wall but no-ne wants to build a fence along it as there is pebbly back fill behind the wall so posing an issue with fence footings. Did you have teh same issues?
    Cheers – Paul

    • BobinOz August 13, 2012, 1:10 pm |

      Hi Paul

      Me and a friend actually built the fence, and we rented a hole digger from a tools rental company. The fence is actually about three quarters of a meter behind the boulder wall, so we got some pretty good footings in the ground.

      I suppose it depends if you have enough space to do that, otherwise I can see why there is this problem. Good luck Paul!

  • Maple Ocena May 22, 2012, 7:55 pm |

    I agree with you Bob that the best way to protect the children is to teach them how to swim. They say kids especially babies are a fast learner in the field of swimming because they are born with the ability to hold their breath underwater.

    • BobinOz May 24, 2012, 6:09 pm |

      Yes, exactly, the earlier you acquaint your baby to water the better. We first took Elizabeth to swimming lessons when she was about three or four-month-old back in England, she didn’t learn how to swim then, but she had a lot of fun 🙂

  • Toby March 31, 2012, 3:15 pm |

    Nothing Protects better than Parents with Love and Attention

  • Sean March 22, 2012, 6:29 pm |


    Does the swimming pool fence regulation apply to every single private pool whether you have young children or not?

    How strictly is it enforced? Could you have a fence that could be taken down after the inspector has gone?!

    • BobinOz March 23, 2012, 2:58 pm |

      Yep, every pool (including inflatables with, I think, water 300 mm or more deep) whether you have children or not. It is enforced and there are heavy fines for non-compliance, although I’ve never heard of anyone receiving a surprise visit from a pool Inspector.

      Putting a fence up and taking it down later isn’t really a good idea, these fences are expensive to put up in the first place and you will be risking a huge fine by doing that.

      I’m afraid we’re stuck with the rules.

  • Brendan March 14, 2012, 7:03 am |

    Sorry Joel, and all other Californians on this blog. I suppose I should get my facts straight before acusing you of such things. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, but at least you’re not as crazy as Queenslanders on this issue.

    • Joel March 14, 2012, 9:19 am |

      We’re as crazy as the rest of them, don’t worry!

      • BobinOz March 14, 2012, 8:38 pm |

        I’m not crazy, I’ve got a certificate somewhere. Soon, I’ll have one for my pool fence too. Meh.

  • Joel March 14, 2012, 4:19 am |

    We don’t have any laws around pools like that in California. At least none of my neighbors, friends or relatives who have pools have every mentioned anything like that. There are recommendations of course, and we have a lot of ridiculous rules but not more or less than UK or Aus.
    A family friends child drowned in a swimming pool many years ago, but they had no gate or anything. It’s very, very sad but I don’t think laws are the answer to every danger there could possibly be.

  • Brendan March 13, 2012, 6:51 am |

    Such laws make Aussies look like crazed Californians. This is an embarrasment. You’re totally right, Bob, people need to teach their children how to swim, and if they know their children can’t swim, they shouldn’t let them out of their sight around a pool. Where did common sense go? Has anyone seen it lately?

    • BobinOz March 14, 2012, 12:32 am |

      Do they also have to put up with this kind of craziness in California then?

      We have elections coming up in a couple of weeks, our local independent Katter’s Australian Party member probably doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Darwin. But one of his election pledges if he wins is to “revoke nanny state laws”.

      So my first ever vote as an Australian looks like it is heading his way.

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