Outdoor recreation stakeholders join forces to create Australia’s first national set of outdoor safety standards. 

Australia’s peak outdoor bodies welcomed yesterday’s commitment by State and Territory Sport and Recreation Ministers for funding the creation of the first set of national adventure activity standards for the industry. Working with state and territory governments, the outdoor industry peak bodies will develop an Australian Adventure Activity Standards (Australian AAS) which will improve community and customer outdoor experiences.  

The Australian AAS will provide a best practice framework for safe and responsible planning and delivery of a wide range of outdoor adventure activities throughout Australia.   

As each state has maintained its own set of standards for outdoor activities until now, this new national approach will make it easier for activity providers to operate in multiple jurisdictions, improve professional portability, and raise safety standards for participants. 

Peak bodies collaborating on the project include The Outdoor Council of Australia, Recreation SA, Outdoors WA, Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation, Outdoors Recreation Industry Council of NSW and Outdoors Victoria, together with relevant government agencies in Tasmania, ACT and NT. 

Development of the Australian AAS will involve combining and streamlining the current state standards into the inaugural national standard, while consulting with the outdoor community to ensure the national standards represent best practice. 

Outdoor Council of Australia chairman Murray Stewart said standards shouldn’t change just because you cross a border.

“This new national approach will ensure everyone has a clear direction on how to achieve the highest safety standards and deliver the best possible experience for participants in outdoor activities across Australia,” Mr Steward said. 

Recreation SA executive officer Rebecca Deans said new Australian standards was great news for participants involved in nature-based tourism, outdoor education, as well as outdoor recreation groups and operators.

“A national set of standards will reduce red tape and will be more effective than a state-by-state approach,” Mrs Deans said. 

“With increasing number of people, including school groups, families and retirees, participating in outdoor recreation the AAS are industry-driven standards designed to keep participants safe.  Under the current system each state has operated under its own system, however this funding will ensure for the first time there will be truly national standard for the industry across Australia.” 

“While the Australian standards are being developed, South Australia has just released 9 updated Adventure Activity Standards, following 12 months of work by Recreation SA, industry operators and other stakeholders,” she said.