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[Computerbank] news article on volunteeri law changes in sa:)

Liability lifted from volunteers

IN an Australian first, SA's 400,000 volunteers are now protected from 
being sued as a result of their volunteer efforts.

Minister Responsible for Volunteers Iain Evans said the law, passed in 
Parliament this week, offered protection for volunteers undertaking 
authorised activities on behalf of incorporated associations.

No other Australian state or territory has such legislation.

"This will affect thousands of South Australians, like mum and dad sport 
coaches, who volunteer their time," Mr Evans said.

"Volunteers across all sectors told us there was an underlying fear of 
being sued while volunteering."

The law does not provide protection for illegal conduct or protection if 
the volunteer is under the influence of drugs.

Mr Evans said while the legislation shielded volunteers from liability 
concerns, the liability remained with the organisation being represented.

"Organisations may discover that they have an easier time finding 
volunteers if the liability of individuals is lifted," the minister said.

Debating the Bill in Parliament this week, Transport Minister Diana 
Laidlaw described the new law as "landmark legislation".

But No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon said volunteer organisations needed to be 
educated to ensure they had taken proactive risk management steps and 
had insurance policies in place.

"My concern is that circumstances may arise where a volunteer 
organisation does not have an insurance policy and, as a result of the 
actions of a volunteer, however well intentioned, an injury is caused to 
a person or property," he said.

Ms Laidlaw said Mr Evans' department was "poised" to call for tenders to 
conduct public education campaigns about the new law.

Parliament is considering other reforms, including good Samaritan 
legislation which prevents community members from being sued when they 
stop and help a person in an emergency situation.

romana@timelady.com icq no:393293

Computerbank Australia -  SA branch coordinator

"Between the idea and the reality,
Between the motion and the act,
Falls the Shadow..."
(TS Eliot)

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