18.5 Adventure Training and Other Sponsored Activities | Military Compensation SRCA Manuals and Resources Library, Liability Handbook, Ch 18 Sport and Fitness Activities

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18.5 Adventure Training and Other Sponsored Activities

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On occasion, ADF units may organise physically and mentally testing “adventurous” activities either as a voluntary adjunct to training, as “sponsored recreation” or as a public relations exercise.  Examples of these activities may include exploits such as winter ski touring in the Australian high country, sea kayaking, rock climbing, etc.

The common theme of these voluntary “adventurous” activities is increased danger. Nevertheless, Delegates are NOT to regard volunteers for such exploits as excluded from compensation because of “voluntarily and unreasonably submitted to an abnormal risk of injury” as per S6(3).  Military Compensation policy is that while these ADF members have “voluntarily” submitted to the abnormal risk, this is reasonable under the circumstances.

Cases also arise where groups of ADF personnel organise adventurous activities on their own initiative.  Sometimes these activities have a charitable fund raising intent. These private ventures are not covered by workers compensation.  The mere extension of leave from the ADF to undertake the activity does NOT imply Defence approval, participation or sponsorship.  However, a case can be made for a nexus with employment where any part of the ADF:

  • provides funds or other resources to the venture;
  • provides “official” advice or encouragement;
  • provides a long term loan of equipment where this is not available to other groups or on other occasions; or
  • permits the team to be named as an ADF team (or a single service team or a unit team etc.) for the purposes of publicity.

Note: Refer to chapter 30 which also deals with S6(3) of the SRCA in more detail but in relation to voluntary and unreasonable submission to abnormal risk of injury in other circumstances AND compare with 18.2.5 which deals with substantially increasing the risk of sustaining an injury while travelling for the purposes of employment or the Act.