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Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by currawong, Sep 5, 2017.
Has been talked about since the 90s. I remember distinctly the version proposed by ORCA.. (Outdoor Recreation Council of Australia) who i guess this mob is a reincarnation of. It will happen eventually I think it is inevitable. As i think will be restricted access to some areas unless you are with a club or accredited company.
A big danger is clubs being liability shy and not prepared to run activities without credentialled leaders (as opposed to experienced). If newbies can't join a club tthen likely outcomes are that they blunder into things without prepration, skills etc or they stay at home on the couch instead.
I think it's more empire building...its promoted predominantly by blokes who like to collect badges...
"Woohoo i am a level 6 "
What activities are covered?
Current state and territory standards cover the following activities:
Canoeing & kayaking
Horse trail riding
Trail Bike riding
During the next three years, these activities will all be brought within the Australian AAS framework. Additional activities may be added as needed to reflect current practice.
What will happen is the experienced folk will go off and form their own low cost minimal compliance "club" to ensure access and minimise exposure to the inevitable shitfights and internal politics that this will create within clubs. ..what do you mean I am not a level4....
holy shit so literally just walking in the bush will require an accreditation process if you want to lead a group of friends on a particular walk?
The other danger here is that it sets a precedent for other recreational activities. e.g. local MTB club organises a group ride on the weekend? Must be a level 5 box ticker. Rock climbing gym takes some local climbers out for the day hitting some local crags? Phewww that is rather dangerous, minimum Level 9 requirements plus an ambulance on standby!
probably also by the education industry. presumably only Registered Training Organisations will be able to hand out the qualifications, and we know how what great institutions they all are. Unfortunately for many it is a competition to see how little meaningful training can be provided in return for the dollars attached to a piece of paper.
It's even weirder - heaps of activities for many clubs have no 'leader' but maybe an organiser or 'holder of the list' or some such. For example, my fly fishing club has Club trips, often involving some walking off track, but no 'leaders' nor 'accreditation' nor 'competencies'. We are a groups of social anglers socially angling. **** rules for recreation.
I tried to get an in-house standards and informal vetting process for our club years ago. Wrote a bunch of pages, spent club money on stuff. It was pretty much ignored and people just continued posting a phone number and a date and time and going off to have fun. Probably rightly. I just wanted people to put just a bit more effort in (the main sticking point was top belays 100% of the time for beginner climbers and abseilers)
What happens is, this will be completely ignored by the uni clubs, until someone gets hurt. Then the person who got hurt goes to hospital, says "Well that sucked" and is never seen again. The club wrings hands, the trip leader feels bad for a bit, and then everything continues as it did, with any regulations continued to be ignored.
If in the unfortunate event that the beginner who gets hurt, gets hurt really badly or dies, or is simply litigious, the club will simply disband, and re-form as a private facebook meetup group.
But what if someone breaks an ankle or gets bitten by a snake? Who the hell am i supposed to sue?
pull the club PLB, sit tight, be happy you have friends
The easy answer for that is for the confederation of bushwalking clubs to become an RTO.
that could at least look after the quality of training. but RTO's have lots of paperwork hoops to jump through too
No, the easy answer is to completely ignore any regulation. Especially for the bushwalking clubs, hiding way from society in a cave in the backcountry, wearing nothing but a tinfoil hat, is practically in the charter.
edit: I suppose I might have the wrong impression, that could just be SUBW.
you first need to have a club to have a "club PLB". All this will do (aside from decreased levels of participation) is push organised recreational activities "underground" so to speak. Club what club?
Oh, PLBs, case in point. It turns out it's harder to register them as belonging to an organisation or club, so most clubs just register them as private PLBs under the name of whoever was around at the time. And then not bother to change it after the guy graduates and moves to Brisbane.
Yeah it's stupid.
We bought PLBs because we had the funds and it's easy to do but they aren't mandatory or anything. Just a service to our members.
I think it has recently become easier.
We have a few and it seems to be ok.
I am against such 'rules' for bushwalking clubs. My club, the VMTC has been in existence for almost 70 years. We have contributed greatly to the Bushwalking & Mountaincraft Leadership Course (BMLC) from its conception to its demise, having trained many thousands of people during its time. We are also heavily engaged in the volunteer Bushwalkers Search & Rescue.
The BMLC was in existence before Universities ran Outdoor Education courses. It set the standard for leaders to take children, students and communities into the bush safely with a sound education of all aspects of bushwalking (preparedness, weather, medical emergencies, fire, crossing rivers, navigation, etc).
The leaders came from bushwalking clubs and also trained the Vic Police Force S&R members.
Several people then developed courses for Universities using this information and became 'experts' but lacked real experience of really understanding the outdoors.
(I took two such skilled educators into a bad blizzard one QueensBirthday w/e. They lost a tent, dug a snowcave that collapsed, then came into our tents (funny how a tent can always accomodate one extra in an emergency). One instructor thought he might not survive the w/e, but with knowledge, teamwork, etc he came through and hopefully with a bit more knowledge on how to enjoy a good storm).
Members of bushwalking clubs use the knowledge of the older experienced leaders and learn much about the outdoors, similarly to what the old BMLC did when training teachers, etc. They learn many things enjoy the bush in all conditions, this includes weather, navigation, party morale, selection of campsites, equipment and even what food can be taken.
Most of our members have many years of expertise & experience in all kinds of walking terrain and extremes of weather.
The leaders are all carefully chosen and volunteer to take both members and visitors to all states and other parts of the world.
The proposed AAAS for bushwalking just puts extra burden onto the bushwalking clubs and doesn't 'raise' the standards of safety or community involvement.
I also want to know what happens to the thousands of non-club bushwalkers that are out there every day somewhere in the bush - and maybe NOT doing the right thing due to laziness or ignorance.
The so called standards do NOT affect them at ALL, and these are the ones who need to be taught bush etiquette, hygiene and safety appraisals.
As a past member of the Bushies Search & Rescue, we often had to look for these people. Sadly for the families, I have found three deceased persons during my time with BSAR, all due to lack of knowledge, skills or preparation.
PLEASE sign the petition. We do NOT need this bureaucratic garbage shoved down our throats by some outsider who thinks they know how we operate.
IMHO, they can all go and get f@rked!
Solo for the win.
done @legend inc donation. m
that may be ok for those who already have learnt the ropes
If the Australian AAS follow the same format as state based ones that have been developed previously, then there is little to worry about if you are an independent outdoorsy person, and shouldn't be an issue for club trip leaders with dependent participants either.
The AAS are recommendations only, however as stated, land managers may begin to require users to follow them, but from talks with NPWS in the Blueys it doesn't seem to be a priority for this particular land manager right now. Other states, i don't know.
In NSW at least (and to be the same for the developing national AAS), the AAS is not a qualification framework, unlike a uni degree or the outdoor recreation training package that certifies things such as outdoor skills for participants (Cert2), junior guides (Cert3), senior guides (Cert4), and highest level staff (Dip). There are no units of competency attached to the AAS specifically, simply that several of the pathways for leaders to show their suitability involve these units (Cert 3 or 4, or NOLRS). For example, in the draft bushwalking national AAS, it suggests that one way a leader might be deemed a suitable leader in SW Tassie walking, is to hold the bushwalking units froma Cert4 or Diploma.
The AAS recognises all those qualifications as suitable indicators of skills and experience for trip leaders at different levels, and these pathways work well for guides and commercial organisations, but not so much for the club scene.
But there is also a peer recognition framework listed in the NSW AAS, and is in the smaller print of the draft national AAS - core standards section (not mentioned in the bushwalking one other than as a footnote). And this method is how i think that clubs will easily be able to continue operating, maybe something like the following - list of approved trip leaders, log of trips run and dependent participants (archived newsletter may be enough), mentoring new trip leaders into role. In my time with @sbm uni club, these processes were already in place practically, 20 years ago. I suspect most other clubs already have similar frameworks in place.
I don't really like the idea of rules either, but from my involvement writing some of the NSW AAS, I don't feel too concerned by it impacting recreational users. They very much have the feeling of just meeting minimum criteria for what might in many places be classed as common sense.
In a litigious society restrictions like this are not really intended to be enforced. They are a mechanism whereby the land manager can say "How can we be liable - we had regulations in place to stop this sort of irresponsible behaviour".
It's a shame experience, aptitude and common sense can't be certified.
The pain and cost involved is extensive - I'd rather have un-aneasthetised experimental open heart surgery in an unregulated ' Sydney beauty parlour' than be forced to set up and manage an RTO...
But they can be peer reviewed
I always see the issue being then it becomes expected to have the info, to log it, to store it, to be able to produce it, and to be responsible for it. Lots of Clubs are only about providing a mechanism for like minded people to get together, not drown in administrative blurgghh.
a club i'm involved with (not the ski club) can't even find it's rules of association (constitution)
Geez the club i was once associated with was so full of bush lawyers, there was no chance of that. Some folk would bring their copy to every meeting.
Sounds like a good Club to be in, who focuses on members' enjoyment not stupid admin.
The club I belonged to had a rolling chairthing policy. They used to like me because my meetings were much shorter than anyone else's. And then the pub. Good chairthinging and focus on outcomes, not procedure. I reckon I would have had support for a coup and imposition of serious discipline.
No better spectator sport than observing 'volunteers' with an axe to grind, a burning sense of self-righteous indignation, and a deeply entrenched sense of entitlement. However, no fun if you end up with skin in the game, unless it's a VERY thick skin...
We have a 'committee meeting' the night before Club meetings. Avoids usual meetings getting hijacked and we concentrate on fishing If someone reeeeeaaaaalllllly has an issue they can come along to the committee meeting.
If you ever want to destroy a club, this is a very effective technique. Gets fast results with maximum pain for everyone.
People like this are good candidates for being first up against the wall when the time comes.
Personal location beacon
Activate it and it sends your location via satellite and the cavalry arrives to pick up the pieces and post you home in a box.
Unlike inexperience, ineptitude and stupidity!
Team Bears will be grounded for life.....
No certificates for anything much.....
Peer review that sounds fashionable.
Last two trips we even left Parka a In rodeo to cut down extra weight.!!!
And we took on the tracks in jeans for good measure!
Just get one bear qualified, and you'll be right!
Precisely why I will never be a member of any club again. Sick of club politics, personal agendas, infighting and nothing ever being achieved.
I concur with Ecowain, these standards are written with commercial groups in mind and if you are not taking paying clients then land managers cannot enforce the guidelines on you. Insurance companies may look to them but the risk assessment provided by individual clubs should show a level of experience and training with leaders to circumvent any problem. I have written risk assessments for commercial operations and discussed them at length with land managers and insurance providers and they have high regard for long term, hands on experience.
Here is a nice level headed response that hopefully allays the concerns raised here.
Why in the hell does there need to be any form of a "management plan" for people going and enjoying the bush?
Its the nanny state the bureaucracy is so big in Australia now it builds on itself and it just keeps getting bigger.
The club I'm in has already had to implement management plans similar to these in order to retain its litigation insurance and continue its existence. Many similar clubs which are required to have such insurance will eventually inevitably face the same task, AAS aside, just due to the way the tort law here in Australia (particularly Victoria) works with dependent participants, even when they are voluntarily undertaking obviously risky activities. There seems to be no way for newbies to participate and learn in a club setting without being classed as a dependent participant which exposes the clubs to considerable risk of litigation, especially if they have assets or insurance payouts worth fighting for. This is the real crux of the problem here in my opinion. My guess is that New Zealand clubs don't face these same levels of risks due to their universal accident cover. We need something similar in my opinion, maybe like TAC, but I doubt there will be enough motivation to get there?
Interestingly, Queensland tort law has some provisions for people voluntarily undertaking obviously risky activities. There was a defining case with a skater in a skate park. Some have said that it swings the balance too far the other way, but personally, I think that the potential benefits to volunteer organisations, and the plain old common sense which it reminds me of make it more than worthwhile.
None of this is government orchestrated. It has nothing to do with forming regulations which a mandatory. These are guidelines for a minimum standard for safe operation of activities and when adopted in practise by clubs will go a long way toward protecting them from the consequences of litigation. From my discussions on the bushwalk forum I can see some people are having difficulty getting their heads around the dependent person aspects and the need to accept responsibility for leadership of dependent people. The level of dependence will vary depending on the club and activities within it and if the club gets it right then there should be no problem. In application it will only be when something goes wrong and insurance companies (or authorities) become involved that there will be a need to substantiate the level of dependence and the level of leadership. If the club gets it wrong and can be shown to be negligent then the insurance company may 'clause' out of the contract which leaves the club holding the bag. Insurance companies spend a great deal of effort looking for ways not to pay out on a policy.
It really doesn't matter if the standards are nationally adopted under this proposal. They exist already at a state level and as Luke has rightly pointed out, are already affecting clubs. Once all insurance providers adopt the standards then all clubs will have to comply. For the most part I would suggest they are already and the standards are just a way of formalising how they are currently operating. It may also weed out those clubs engaging in reckless behaviour. In my view the standards will be the clubs best friend long term.
How did Australia get to this point? It flowed down hill from the US of A. I suppose the 'colonials' have come of age.
And there lies the problem, too many people don't take responsibility for their own actions.