BUSHWALKING WOMEN ON RIGHT TRACK
WOMEN are putting on their boots and getting into the great outdoors with a new bushwalking group.
Melbourne Girls Outside founder Tamara Hutchins, 29, says more women are looking to gain nature skills and are hitting the tracks across Victoria. Launched last month, membership has already surged past 350.
“Our group formed because we saw a gap in society for girls looking to get experience,” she said. “If volunteer groups like ours didn’t exist, many (women) may not get outside because they don’t feel comfortable on the track by themselves.”
She called on the state government to protect small volunteer groups after changes to the Australian Adventure Activity Standards raised concerns volunteer groups could face red tape in the future.
The changes are designed for commercial operators and are voluntary for nonprofit groups — but Ms Hutchins warned any future changes should not affect small groups.
“Currently, we are able to exist because we don’t charge our members fees for things like public liability,” she said.
Sports Minister John Eren said the voluntary guidelines were to ensure that “people are prepared and have the right safeguards in place to enjoy themselves”.
Tamara Hutchins, Leesa Maree Smith, Nik Gerschwitz, Eliza Sum and Emily Rayner.