WHAT EXACTLY IS THE AAS PROJECT?

Roughly

  • it is a government funded scheme to write sets of rules for all the recreational activities that happen on public land.

  • they were originally intended to apply to everyone - private citizens, incuding members of associations, and commercial and educational* groups. (*However the Victorian Department of Education and Training has recently announced its decision not to use the AAS.)

  • they become binding on commercial operations immediately upon publication by the project managers.

  • they are binding on members of associations that receive government funding.

  • they are said to be the rules that insurers will require businesses, clubs and any insured group to comply with.

  • they are claimed to be the rules that courts will look to decide whether or not a defendant was behaving responsibly.

Why "roughly"?

We can't vouch for much of that exactly. It comes from many sources. Unfortunately there is no binding project definition, so while you will find clear definitions, you can also find different definitions. And not one definition can be relied on to be around next month.

For what purpose?

Same problem. Through Freedom of Information requests, we have satisfied ourselves that the funding departments committed funds for this on the understanding that the primary purpose was to address in some way an insurance problem that commercial operators and some community groups were suffering in the late 1990's and early 2000's. But again, the purposes were never stipulated in the funding documents and you will find that many differing claims are made about the purpose and origin. And without any binding direction from the funding departments, we cannot rely on any statement of purposes that is published at any particular time.

(Bizarrely, the grant documents go into considerable detail about process and presentation but say almost nothing about what they are supposed to achieve. The closest is a statement in the negative: "Currently most groups other than private commercial operators have access to public land in Victoria without having to abide by any agreed standards relating to the conduct of activities other than those that are individually set by the groups from time to time." Therefore what? is not answered but the implication is clear. The three grant documents are not even consistent in relation to whether the standards should be minimums or not vis a vis, say a code of good practice.)

continue

..................................................................................................................................................