THE RESPONSE. Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts announced that new window safety laws to help prevent children falling from residential strata buildings have now passed through Parliament.
SOURCE | Media Release | Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts | 24 October 2013
New Laws Will Help Prevent Child Falls From Windows
24 October 2013. Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts announced new safety measures to prevent children falling from windows.
Mr Roberts said all windows above the ground floor in existing residential strata schemes must be retrospectively fitted with a lock or safety device which prevents the window opening more than 12.5cm.
“In 2011-12, 39 children aged nine or younger were hospitalised in NSW due to window falls.
“Adult vigilance is critical when it comes to preventing a child fall, a window safety device is the last line of defence and it could save a child’s life,” Mr Roberts said.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said, “These new measures will help to keep children safe and reduce the number of injuries from falls, which can have a devastating effect on children and their families.”
The NSW Government will amend Strata and Residential Tenancies legislation to require owners corporations to install safety devices on all windows that pose a safety risk to young children, allow owners to install safety devices regardless of the by-laws of the strata scheme and to include window safety devices in the prescribed condition report for rental premises.
With more than 70,000 strata schemes across NSW and an average of 5 new schemes registered each day, Mr Roberts said owners corporations will be given 5 years to retrospectively fit windows with safety devices.
“The number of high rise residential apartment buildings in NSW has grown significantly in recent decades with more and more families now living in apartments,” Mr Roberts said.
“By 2030 it is estimated that more than 50 per cent of the State’s population will live in a strata scheme.
“Some owners and tenants will already have safety devices fitted to their windows but this will ensure any child living in or visiting an apartment above the ground floor will be safe,” Mr Roberts said.
Mr Roberts said the installation of window safety devices in New York had resulted in a 96% reduction in child fall hospital admissions.
The new laws are in line with changes to the Building Code of Australia which will make window safety devices compulsory in new residential buildings from 1 May 2013 and follow recommendations from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Working Party for the Prevention of Children Falling From Residential Buildings 2011 report.
Australian Medical Association NSW President, A/Prof Brian Owler welcomed the new laws. “The State Government is showing a commitment to protecting children from death and permanent, debilitating injury from falls,” A/Prof Owler said.
Mr Roberts said ongoing education will remain vital to preventing child falls.
“Since 2011, NSW Fair Trading has sent 40,000 copies of the Think Child Safe brochure to real estate agents, strata managers and community housing providers,” Mr Roberts said.
“And a further 430,000 brochures are now being sent to new tenants with their rental bond receipts.”
Mr Roberts today released the Children and Window Safety Consultation Paper to seek feedback from the community on how best to implement these new window safety standards in residential strata buildings.
The consultation period will run for 6 weeks.
“The Liberal & Nationals Government has demonstrated its commitment to consulting with industry and the community to determine the best possible result for the people of NSW,” Mr Roberts said.
INFORMATION SERIES | New Strata Laws for Windows
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