Outdoors SA 2020 Annual Highlights.
The past year has seen significant challenges in the sector with bushfires raging across many states stopping outdoor activities and impacting outdoor providers. The emergence of COVID 19 and the resultant closure of schools, social isolation and border closures put a stop to many activities. Outdoors SA responded strongly and stepped up to draft the National Framework to reboot outdoor activities in a COVID-19 environment. This was endorsed by the Outdoor Council of Australia and has provided the sector benchmark to keep South Australia’s outdoor sector functioning. It is in these times that having a proactive organisation of the calibre of Outdoors SA is recognised.
Download the report here Outdoors SA 2020 Report
Framework to reboot outdoor activities in a COVID-19 environment
Outdoors SA has been working tirelessly over the past year in its capacity as a member of the Outdoor Council of Australia (OCA) to prepare a framework to reboot outdoor activities in a COVID-19 environment. This framework has been submitted to Federal Government and State and Territory Ministers. It assisted the Government and other statutory agencies to provide the outdoors sector with clear guidelines for commercial providers, community groups and volunteers to operate safely as we begin on the path out of restrictions.
This document has been created in collaboration with Australian Camps Association and Christian Venues Association, Outdoors NSW & ACT, Outdoors Victoria, Outdoors WA, Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation (QORF), Scouts Australia, and advice from Mountain Bike Australia, Paddle Australia and other outdoor activity peaks.
In addition to the Framework document Outdoors SA also compiled a list of useful resources to aid the sector in responding to the pandemic. Education regarding COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies will help to promote and set expectations for the required behaviours prior to recommencing activities. Useful online resources from Government, public health and other statutory authorities on education materials and options have been presented.
These can be located on the website at: https://outdoorssa.org.au/resources/
Bushfire recovery support
Outdoors SA supported engagement with interstate counterparts in a webinar looking at key questions for those delivering outdoor pursuits in the field of Tourism, Education, Community groups and Adventure Therapy.
- What does recovery mean for the outdoor sector?
- What does the outdoor sector need to recover?
- How do we all contribute to that recovery?
The outcomes will be used to seek changes, gain support and provide advocacy for people in South Australia delivering and facilitating adventure based activities. Although the land scarred by fires is smaller than other states, we are working with our partners on a national task force to ensure those operating in nature based tourism and the greater outdoor industry are supported correctly and swiftly to minimise ongoing impacts
Improving industry standards
The Australian Adventure Activity Standard (AAAS) and Good Practice Guides (GPG) workshops continued to be presented along with a number of webinars supported between a number of states. Outdoors SA continues to field questions and provide local clarification on how to work with and effectively use these freely available resources.
Details on the Adventure Activity Standards can be found online https://outdoorssa.org.au/adventure-activity-standards-aas/
Review of the National Outdoor Leadership Registration Scheme (NOLRS).
Changes to standards and training across the outdoors sector have precipitated a timely review of the NOLRS. The Outdoor Council of Australia with state support reviewed the operation of the National Outdoor Leadership Registration Scheme. NOLRS was established in 2003 to provide a transparent, national benchmark of individual currency in outdoor activity leadership skill. It will be an ongoing discussion within the sector on how we recognise outdoor leaders and the value of skills, knowledge and experience as an outdoor professional.
Australian standards development for Artificial Climbing Structures
Supported the engagement and development of the Australian Standards with Standards Australia. AS 2316.12 Artificial Climbing Structures and Challenge Courses. To ensure safety requirements and test methods for bouldering structures were developed for the sector.
Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy have released their ‘survey of the field’ and the response so far has been terrific! The survey is for anyone with an interest in bush adventure therapy or nature based interventions in Australia. The survey is designed to map the breadth and diversity of BAT services in Australia and build a public directory of services and programs, providing a snapshot of the field in the past 10 years in Australia, since the last survey was undertaken.
They are looking for a wide range of community participation regardless of level of expertise or experience.
Involvement in Industry Research:
The UPLOADS (Understanding and Preventing Led Outdoor Accidents Data System) project released an updated 2019/2020 annual report outlining incidents within led outdoor activities and contributory factors.
This annual report provides an overview of the incidents reported to the National Incident Database (NID) for the 12-month period of September 14, 2019 to September 13, 2020. The report describes: the incident rates per incident type and activity; the severity of the reported incidents; an overview of the report injuries and illnesses sustained; and the network of contributory factors reported as playing a role in incident causation. The report also presents a comparison between key variables from the current dataset and the previous UPLOADS annual report.
Reporting this year was affected by COVID-19. This explains the decrease of ~130,000 participation days compared to the 2019 annual report. Interestingly, the number of overall reported incidents was similar.
Therefore, the overall incident rate increased from 6.9 in 2019 to 9.5 in 2020, as there were less participation days but a similar number of reported incidents. The reason as to why reported incidents only dropped slightly, despite a large reduction in participation, requires further investigation. One explanation, however, may be due to increased incident reporting to the National Incident Database.
The contributory factor map shows that factors at the “State and Federal Government” and “Regulators” levels were identified. Factors from these levels were not identified in the 2019 contributory factor map. This is a positive finding for the sector as the consideration of systemic factors will facilitate a better understanding of incident causation and subsequently a safer Led Outdoor Activity sector
Sector promotion and recognition
Outdoors SA is dedicated to seeing more people adventuring outdoors and regularly promotes what is happening in the various areas of the SA outdoors sector.
Further highlights and the ongoing work of Outdoors SA can be found on the website at https://outdoorssa.org.au