The Australian Adventure Activity Standards (AAS) are a voluntary best-practice framework for safe and responsible planning and delivery of outdoor adventure activities with dependent participants.
These new national standards are intended to replace existing Adventure Activity Standards (AAS) that are different in each state. Like the existing state-based standards, the new National Australian AAS are voluntary and are being designed primarily for groups with dependent participants such as school groups, scout, church and youth groups as well as commercial guides and tour operators. They are not intended to cover individual bushwalkers. Bushwalking clubs generally have a different duty of care and use different procedures to ensure the safety of walkers. Nevertheless, clubs may find the new standards useful when updating their own rules and safety procedures.
While both the existing and new standards are voluntary, there is some concern amongst the bushwalking community that government land managers or private landholders could in future seek to impose AAS on all bushwalkers as a condition of entry. Bushwalking Australia which is represented on the National Australian AAS Working Group, is working hard to make sure this does not happen. AAS applied in that way on clubs could become a bureaucratic nightmare for clubs with little benefit for walker safety.
Comments on the new draft standards are welcome and need to be submitted by May 29.