New Guidelines Aimed at Increasing Safety in Aquatic Facilities Released | Royal Life Saving Society


Published: 18 December 2023


Royal Life Saving Society – Australia and the National Aquatic Industry Committee have today released two new sets of Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations (GSPO).

new GSPOs

Both sets of guidelines have involved more than a year’s worth of work including widespread consultation with aquatic facility owners, operators and industry groups.

The first set of guidelines provides practical guidance for owners or operators of aquatic facilities in relation to measures needed to protect children and young people from abuse and/or related harm relating to aquatic facility operations.

The child safety guidelines contextualise the National Child Safe Principles to aquatic facilities and are intended to assist pool owners and operators to comply with regulatory frameworks.

The second set of guidelines provide practical guidance for owners or operators of aquatic facilities in relation to the qualifications, skills and training needed for staff for entry into employment in the aquatic industry.

The Training and Qualifications guidelines bring together the changes to vocational training packages, overseen by the now disbanded Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) working on behalf of the federal government, that impacted a variety of aquatic industry roles.

The new guidelines are available in the GSPO subscriber area of the Royal Life Saving Australia website.

RJ Houston, Royal Life Saving General Manager – Capability & Industry, said the guidelines are intended to simplify and contextualise existing regulatory frameworks into practical guidance for aquatic facility owners and operators.

“The National Aquatic Industry Committee has worked hard over the last 12 months to work through a range of frameworks, guidance, legislation, policy and best practices to bring these guidelines to fruition.”

NAIC member Matt Simpson, Project Manager – National Programs at Swimming Australia said collaboration and problem-solving is critical to ensuring guidelines strike the right balance between comprehensiveness and feasible implementation by industry.

“Swimming Australia and other peak associations have been working with our members and clubs to understand the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, with safety a top priority for all.”

NAIC member Brad Page, Venues and Events Manager at Logan City Council said the new guidelines assist in providing clarity to venue owners on what arrangements should be in place to ensure facilities are being managed in the best possible public interest.

“For venue owners, having responsive and comprehensive industry safety guidance is vital for ensuring facilities are managed safely and in line with the latest regulations.”

To view the guidelines, head to the Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations section of the RLSSA website here:

About the GSPO and NAIC

The Australian aquatic industry involves a comprehensive legal framework that pertains to a range of activities in and around aquatic facilities. These include functions and responsibilities in health, training, education, sport, workplace health and safety, rescue, first aid and facility management.

The Australian Government has a longstanding agreement with RLSSA to provide services on behalf of the Australian aquatic industry. Specifically, RLSSA established the NAIC to lead the research, review and development of the GSPO. The GSPO is intended to be a best practice guide for managers, lifeguards, instructors and others working in the industry on the safe operation of aquatic locations.

As part of this agreement, RLSSA maintains a comprehensive up-to-date register of relevant industry policies and standards for aquatic safety. These include but are not limited to:

  • National and State/Territory legislation and regulations
  • International and Australian Standards
  • Building Code of Australia
  • Safe Work Australia’s Codes of Practice
  • Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines
  • Australian Quality Training Framework

The NAIC consists of the following organisations, representing a cross-section of industry:

  • Aligned Leisure
  • Aquatic Recreation Institute (ARI NSW)
  • Aquatics and Recreation Victoria (ARV)
  • Australian Council for Swimming and Water Safety Teachers (AUSTSWIM)
  • Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA)
  • Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA)
  • Belgravia Leisure
  • BlueFit
  • City of Greater Geelong
  • Leisure Institute of Western Australia Aquatics (LIWA)
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council
  • Royal Life Saving Australia and its State/Territory Member Organisations
  • Safe Work Australia
  • Sunshine Coast Council
  • Swimming Pool and Spa Association Australia
  • Swimming Australia
  • The Y

Royal Life Saving Society – Australia’s research, education and advocacy work in drowning prevention and water safety is supported by the Australian Government.


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