OV would firstly like to acknowledge the uncertainty and huge challenge the COVID-19 virus poses for everyone, across the world. Let’s be kind to one another and strive to be the best people we can be.

As things continue to unfold please know that OV cares deeply for the outdoors community and will continue to work hard to support you.

Summary of Victorian DET announcement, Sunday March 15, 2020

Late on Sunday night The DET announced to their schools a new direction regarding camps and excursions. Policy decisions being made by DET are on the basis of Chief Health Officer advice, in this State of Emergency currently declared.

“All camps scheduled to commence from and including Tuesday 17 March were to be postponed and rescheduled, or, if there is no other option, cancelled. If they had a camp scheduled to commence tomorrow and were able to cancel it, it was recommended that they do so. Then no camps were permitted to commence from Tuesday 17 March.

For the purposes of excursions, a school excursion is defined to include local parks and sporting facilities regularly used by the school, including local swimming pools.

All excursions outside a school for purposes such as visits to cultural institutions, art galleries, theatres and sporting events or facilities (other than those local facilities regularly used by the school) planned from and including Tuesday 17 March were required to be postponed or cancelled. Like camps, if excursions planned for Monday 16 March could be cancelled, it was recommended that that the school does so.”

Due to the above Department of Education (DET) directive issued on Sunday, 15th March, and in efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, OV & Victoria University had to cancel the Careers in the Outdoors 2020, scheduled for this coming Friday. We sincerely thank all the presenters and support staff who put in a lot of work for our annual event.

The Future for Outdoor Providers in Victoria

The outdoor providers we have spoken to since Sunday’s announcement have been devastated by the forced cancellation of school camps & excursions. We will be working through the challenges faced by all those affected, over the next several months. Early signs from the Australian Camps Association survey of 73 Victorian businesses and organisations so far, shows losses already over $25 million and nearing 200,000 casual and sub contractor hours lost.

We are staying closely connected with the five state Outdoors peak bodies, the Australian Camps Association, Outdoor Council of Australia and related sector peaks. The Outdoor Council of Australia is advising the enforcement of contract terms for booked camps and outdoor activities. This is to ensure these unique life-changing services, so vital for the community’s physical literacy, mental well-being, and wider learning in nature, are sustained for the coming years and generations. Please follow the link for more advice http://www.outdoorcouncil.asn.au/news/response-to-public-authority-direction-on-cancelling-school-camps/

What you can do: 

  • If you haven’t had a chance to fill out the Australian Camps Association survey: It is absolutely vital that we are able to provide governments, both State and Federal, with the most up to date information about the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID 19) on our sector.Please complete the short survey as a matter of urgency. Note: All responses will be de-identified and all personal information will be kept confidential.
  • We encourage everyone to learn how to use online services like Zoom to reduce the need for face to face meetings.
  • Adopt appropriate social distancing and hygiene procedures in the workplace.
  • Encourage and support staff to work from home.
  • Support a staff member if he/she gets infected – honouring contracts and applying sick leave.
  • Actively monitor reliable sources of information such as DHHS Australian Department of Health & DET Department of Education & Training
  • Visit Beyond Blue for a list of National help lines and websites