Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Gold Coast City Council ordered to pay $125,000 fine after child’s diving platform fall

Gold Coast City Council ordered to pay $125,000 fine after child’s diving platform fall
February 15, 2024

Gold Coast City Council has been penalised with a $125,000 fine for failing to comply with its health and safety obligations at its Gold Coast Aquatic Centre over an incident that put a person at risk of death or serious injury.

The Council yesterday pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court to charges brought by WorkSafe Queensland over an incident that saw a four-year-old girl seriously injured after falling from the diving platform at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre. The child plunged headfirst into concrete from the platform at the Council’s main pool complex.

The Court was told the girl slipped through the guard rail and plummeted headfirst to the concrete below while waiting to use the Centre’s 3 metre diving platform in January 2021.

She suffered serious injuries - including fractures to her skull and vertebrae - and was hospitalised for almost a week.

As reported by the Gold Coast Bulletin, Work Health and Safety (WHS) prosecutor Gretchen McKinley said the girl’s family had not paid the extra fee for her and her six-year-old sister to use the diving tower at the Southport complex, but their father was assured by an on-duty lifeguard that it was safe for them to jump.

Defence barrister Christopher Murdoch said the council accepted it was “an omission” to not complete a specific risk assessment for the diving tower being used by members of the public, which could have identified the risk of someone falling near the back of the platform.

Advising that comprehensive safety measures were already in place including multiple lifeguards, safety signage, and children under 12 needing to be closely supervised by an adult, Murdoch stated “(it’s) a very unfortunate and regrettable circumstance where a little girl has fallen through the guard rail that was in place.

“It’s a risk that of course with the benefit of hindsight one can see was reasonably foreseeable, but in my submission Your Honour wouldn’t consider it … an obvious risk of which my client ought to be acutely aware.”

The Court was told the diving tower was closed to the public following the incident and that the Council had since implemented further safety measures and staff training, including adding vertical bars to parts of the guard rails.

Magistrate Joan White said she accepted it was the Council’s first such breach, and that the diving tower met building standards with access closely monitored at the time.

Magistrate White also found concerns about “uncontrollable patrons” raised in an email from a lifeguard to senior management months earlier had not played a role in the girl’s fall, noting “while the (Council) had conducted a risk assessment of the centre, it had not undertaken a specific risk assessment in relation to the use of the diving facilities by members of the public.” 

The Council was also ordered to pay $1601.40 in court costs. No conviction was recorded.

Image: Diving platforms at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre (top) and the facility from the air (below).

Related Articles

13th February 2024 - Life Saving Victoria’s report reveals the Y as leading in pool safety

23rd January 2024 - Logan City Council fined $80,000 over electrocution of Eagleby Aquatic Centre lifeguard

20th January 2024 - Swearing and threats pose ‘serious risk’ to staff at Orange Aquatic Centre resulting in cut in pool entry numbers

4th January 2024 - Burswood Park Board to undertake safety review after two children drown in the Swan River

20th December 2023 - Release of latest industry guidelines aimed at increasing safety in aquatic facilities

20th November 2023 - Swimming Australia and Belgravia Leisure renew water safety lessons program

17th October 2023 - Diving tower at Brisbane Aquatic Centre reaches new heights

14th July 2023 - Man charged on 140 counts of allegedly indecently recording children at Perth aquatic and recreation centres

14th June 2023 - Bruce Prance Dryland Diving Centre at HBF Stadium welcomed as state-of-the-art facility

25th April 2023 - 2023 Australian Swimming Championships delivers one of biggest events at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre

13th April 2023 - Out of court settlement reached over father and son drowning at Airlie Beach Lagoon

29th March 2023 - Gold Coast Aquatic Centre installs temporary grandstand for swimming championships

12th December 2022 - New diving boards for City of Newcastle’s Lambton Swimming Centre

30th September 2022 - Council to offer support to lifeguards after near drowning at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre

8th July 2022 - Royal Life Saving report spotlights equal access issues to aquatic facilities

8th March 2022 - Belfast Aquatic Centre in Port Fairy struggles with securing insurance following tragic drowning of student

25th August 2020 - Royal Life Saving introduces new conflict management course for the aquatic industry

15th August 2015 - Gold Coast Aquatic Centre fails to reach predicted revenue levels


Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Momentus Technologies

About: Momentus Technologies is a global provider of industry-leading venue and event management solutions that empower organizations to create extraordinary moments. With over 50,000 users in more…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Hospitality / Technology / Venues

 
 

METRA Australia

With industry leading solutions in design and durability you can improve your facilities with our access control operations, payment systems and flexible personal locker storage solutions. Your…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Fitness / Recreation / Security

 
 

TICKETSERV

As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Events / Sport / Ticketing

 
 

Felton Industries

Felton Industries is Australia’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of quality outdoor furniture and has been supplying premium seating solutions for all sporting, commercial, community…

read more

Parks / Play / Recreation / Sport / Venues

 
 

TJS Services

TJS Services is a leading national facility services provider. We deliver quality cleaning, maintenance, construction and facility management services to over 1,500 sites Australia wide.  Our…

read more

Hospitality / Retail / Venues

 
 

BH Fitness

BH Fitness, part of the long-standing and iconic bike manufacturer BH Group, is a global leader in fitness equipment for both Commercial and Home markets. The company, with the headquarters based in…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Exerp

Exerp is a global IT specialist in member management software for the fitness and leisure industry. By focusing on the needs of large enterprises, where streamlining, control and scalability are…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business