Adventure Activity Standards (AAS) are voluntary guidelines for organisations conducting outdoor recreation activities for dependant groups (where participants have a level of dependence upon the leader(s)).
The introduction of the Australian Adventure Activity Standards project was announced in September 2015. Where each state and territory has previously maintained its own set of standards, the industry and government bodies responsible for AAS development decided to develop a single set of Australian Adventure Activity Standards. This was due to the unnecessary duplication, lack of coordination among jurisdictions, and less sharing of expertise and experiences about how to best manage safety and risk outdoors. The Outdoor Council of Australia is a member of the Australian AAS Steering Committee.
Like the current AAS in each jurisdiction, the Australian AAS will NOT be legally binding. The Australian AAS is there to provide a best practice framework, to help guide safe and responsible decision-making for outdoor adventure activities with dependent participants.
Even though the AAS is not legally binding by law, compliance is often required by public and private land managers, regulatory agencies, insurers and others as a contractual or management condition. However, compliance with the AAS may assist in demonstrating that an operator has fulfilled their duty of care to activity participants.
- Safety for both participants and providers,
- Protection for providers against legal liability claims and criminal penalties,
- Assistance in obtaining insurance cover.
The current AAS are NOT statutory standards by law. Legal liability for injuries or property damage is primarily governed by the law of Contract and Negligence which are described within each AAS introduction.
The AAS have been established as minimum standards. The concept required appropriate consultation with commercial, education, not-for-profit and community based organisations so a single and consistent set of guidelines could be established and agreed by the contributors, provide clarity to the sector and to the external stakeholder of safe and sustainable practices in the outdoors.
AAS enable those who lead and those who participate in group based activities to have an opportunity to be appropriately informed of the responsibilities, duty of care and legal expectations they can expect. That in conducting such activities, organisations and leaders know what is expected of them and as such, help to ensure that the appropriate duty of care for self, others and the environment is provided.
The current activity standards were designed to be adaptable, so that they can be developed further as requirements change. Due to the differing regulations, compliance, health & safety expectations and operating environments throughout Australia each state created their own set of AAS, and while they are very similar in many ways they can vary significantly in specific areas.
Click on the following links to view the AAS from each state:
For all details on the Australia Adventure Activity Standard development go to australianaas.org.au