Australian AAS project update Sept 2018

This overview provides an update on what is happening now for the Australian Adventure Activity Standards (Australian AAS) project. It includes details of the revised presentation of content and a pre-release of completed documents.

Presentation of the AAS

Public consultations have raised issues with the presentation of the Australian AAS. Work on how to improve the presentation and address that feedback has taken over a year.

The revised presentation of the AAS has now been finalised.

To summarise the main change, the presentation is now:

  • A ‘Australian AAS – Standard’ – “the Standard”
  • A ‘Core Good Practice Guide’ – guidance that supports “the Standard”
  • The “activity” ‘Good Practice Guides’ – each activity to have its own good practice guide (GPG).

This is represented in the diagram below:


The following sections discuss the 3 types of documents in more detail.


‘Australian adventure activity standard’

Previous rounds of activity public consultation included the “Core Standard” (currently version 1.7).

The change in presentation primarily effects this document:

  • The “Core Standard” will become two documents:
    •      An ‘Australian AAS – Standard’ will now only contain the common ‘requirements’ for all activities with a significantly reduced page count
    •      All ‘considerations’, supporting and background ‘information’ that was in the “Core Standard” will now be in a ‘Core Good Practice Guide’ (Core – GPG)’ – see below for more
  • The ‘Australian AAS – Standard’ length has been reduced by this change
  • The ‘requirements’ and/or ‘recommendations’ in the ‘Australian AAS – Standard’ are being reworded but the substance is unchanged
  • Terminology will change with “must” to replace “shall” given “must” is used more often in everyday speech
  • The section layout of information remains unchanged using existing categories: managing risk, planning, participants, environment, equipment and leadership categories.


‘Core Good Practice Guide’ (Core GPG)

  • The ‘Core GPG’ contains all the various ‘requirements’, ‘recommendations’, ‘considerations’ and background ‘information’ that was found in the previous “core standard v1.7”
  • Any background and/or reference information has now been moved to appendices (e.g. risk management framework information). This is so it can be referred to only if the reader needs to.
  • The categories remain the same as with the ‘Australian AAS – Standard’
  • Only key information is found in the document body and the rest found in the appendices
  • Otherwise it keeps the content from the previous “core standard”.


Various activity ‘Good Practice Guides’ (“activity” GPG)

  • The “activities” documents are no longer referred to as “standards” but as “Good Practice Guides”g. ‘Abseiling & Climbing Good Practice Guide’ or ‘Abseiling & Climbing GPG’
  • All the “activities” will continue to have their own separate ‘Good Practice Guide’
  • A small amount of new content that we have found is common in all activities but still in the activity GPG’s will be moved to the either the Standard & Core GPG as appropriate
  • Other minor presentation improvements will be completed.


What all this means

Effectively this means there is now only one ‘standard’ – the “Australian AAS – Standard” – and a number of supporting “Good Practice Guides” (GPG). There will be a GPG’s for all the activities. There will also be a GPG to support the “Australian AAS – Standard” with this known as the “Core Good Practice Guide”.


Pre-release of documents

It is important to give people time to check their current systems before the new standard and good practice guides are adopted.

Once the presentation (discussed above) is bedded down, we will be ‘pre-releasing’ documents that are finished prior to the ‘official release’. Only one pre-release is planned for Dec 2018. So not all documents will be able to be pre-released. This because their completion coincides with the ‘official release’.

The pre-release is to give providers early access to some of the key documents and time to adjust where that might be necessary. Key pre-release documents will include the Australian AAS Standard and various Good Practice Guides. Providers can use the pre-release to begin reviewing their activity systems well before each state body adopts the Australian AAS.

The ‘official release’ is planned for Sept 2019. It is likely that adoption of the Australian AAS by the various States and Territories would then occur early 2020. More detail on the adoption timeline will be released in due course.



A great deal has been happening and it is finally all coming together.

Providers will soon be able to get the pre-release documents to help them review their systems and activities where necessary.

The Australian AAS Steering Committee appreciates the ongoing contribution of all the members of the Technical Working Group’s (TWG) and the outdoor sector community on the project.



The Australian AAS Team


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