Page 4158 - Week 13 - Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Public Pools Bill 2014

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrective Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (10.42): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Madam Speaker, today I am pleased to introduce the Public Pools Bill 2014. The bill will regulate public pools that are territory-owned assets—that is, Dickson, Manuka and Civic pools, and pools within the leisure centres at Tuggeranong, Erindale and Gungahlin. These public pools are currently regulated under the Public Baths and Public Bathing Act 1956, the existing act. This bill will repeal parts 2 and 3 of that act. I am sure the Assembly would agree that our territory-owned pools are great community assets that are managed very well.

Madam Speaker, put quite simply, the age of the existing act and the terminology used in it do not support modern, efficient and effective operational practices. They hamper innovation and place an unnecessary administrative burden on officials and pool operators. Our territory-owned pools are managed under facility management agreements. These agreements are not well supported by the existing act.

This bill has been developed to provide a modern administrative framework, a framework that supports current contemporary management and contractual arrangements for territory-owned public pools, so that these assets can continue to deliver high standards of water safety and enjoyment for the community. The key concepts are establishing minimum standards based on national best practice principles, facilitating access to maximise participation by all members of the community, providing flexibility to respond to business innovation and changing safety standards, and establishing an early intervention process to manage possible antisocial behaviour.

To achieve all of this the government has been innovative in its thinking, and today I present a bill that removes the past trend of rigid enforcement and criminal sanctions. A flexible regulation approach has been adopted which provides for minimal regulatory intervention and removal of unnecessary administrative burdens, while maintaining the high safety standards currently adopted by the government’s pool operators.

The bill provides that the responsible minister will be able to distinguish between public pools through a category system. This system will enable public pools to be classified by the level of regulatory intervention needed.

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