Volunteer bushwalkers are NOT required to comply with the AAAS

Bushwalking Victoria has analysed the AAAS Core and Bushwalking Standards and consider that most of the content is either not relevant to or far exceeds the needs of volunteer bushwalking activities.

The AAAS are designated as "voluntary" and are not enacted or authorised by any Act of Parliament or other legislative instrument.  

The Minister for Sport, John Eren MP, has advised that there is no current intention to mandate the use of the AAAS on behalf of relevant jurisdictions, including the Department of Health and Human Services, Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning.

The Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change, Lily D'Ambrosio MP, has advised that on their own, the standards have no legal status and there is no requirement to comply with them.

Volunteer bushwalkers cannot and should not be required to comply with the Core AAAS, Bushwalking AAAS or Camping AAAS.

Any attempts in the future to do so will be vigorously opposed, as will any other similar restrictions or impediments that would enable commercial interests to override the rights of community-based clubs to access and enjoy public land.

Community based volunteer bushwalking trip leaders will continue to responsibly manage trip safety by using and contributing to the body of knowledge that informs and supports safe and enjoyable bushwalking.

Our full statement on the AAAS is here: http://bit.ly/BWV-AAAS-Statement

 

AAAS Forum - 28 November 2017

A forum to update President's and committee members of Bushwalking Clubs was held on 28 November 2017 at Melbourne Bushwalkers Club Rooms. The following documentation relate to the presentations given:

 

Petition

Thanks to many people who have contacted their local Member for Parliament to raise concerns with the likely impacts of Australian Adventure Activity Standards on volunteer community-based bushwalkers.

Many MPs and Minister Eren have responded stating that they don't believe that the AAAS will impact our bushwalking. However, our most recent advice is that this is not the case. Our ongoing concerns are:

The "standards" specify over 20 "national competencies" that are designed for professional operators. It is unrealistic and inappropriate to expect volunteer bushwalkers to attempt to prove they meet these competencies.

The standards are NOT voluntary if land managers, courts and insurance companies all consider that they apply to volunteer bushwalkers. The AAAS currently explicitly apply to volunteer bushwalking leaders and clubs.

Increased compliance burdens and liabilities resulting from these standards are likely to result in community-based clubs reducing their trips program or even folding.

Our simple solution is to include the following words in the standard(s):

"Compliance with this standard may be deemed mandatory for commercial adventure activity operators. This standard does not apply to volunteers."

We have launched [this online petition] so clubs, members and the general public can raise concerns about the AAAS directly with Premier Andrews and Minister Eren.

Please circulate this link to anyone who may be interested in participating http://bit.ly/AAAS-petition

Peter Campbell
President, 0409 417 504

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