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Motorsport events are becoming harder and harder to organize, not only because of what appears to be a slowly declining number of competitors and available forests (and roads to use), but because of the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) regulations.

Dictated by the Federal Government, the OH&S laws have made directing even the simplest motorkhanas two or three times more difficult than they have ever been, and it’s a situation that not everyone is happy about.

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), under whose umbrella the majority of rallies in Australia are conducted, have been quick to inplement new rules, regulations and procedures to ensure that all events that run under their banner are run safely, and to the law.

This has meant that new positions such as the Compliance Checker have been introduced which, among other things, means that before a permit for any event is given, a 41-point checklist must be checked off by the Compliance Checker. Then, on the day of the event, there are a further 29 items that are required to be adhered to.

Many car clubs around the country are throwing their hands in the air and walking away, stating that it’s all getting too hard.

CAMS, however, are quick to point out that they are not the ones who should be held responsible for all the changes.

“It must be clarified that CAMS is adhering to the law by following these policies and not making them up on the run,” the June 2006 issue of the CAMS Magazine stated.

Breaches of the OH&S Act 2004, it says, are now a maximum $943,290 for companies and $188,658 for individuals.

Understandably, this has put the wind up many current and would-be directors, and as a result, motorsport as a whole is looking decidedly shaky.

One option that many high profile and long-standing car clubs have, or are currently researching, is the Australian Auto Sports Alliance (AASA), which have for five years been conducting many events in Australia, including nearly all events held at the Winton Motor Raceway, Calder Park and others.

AASA say they are a better (and cheaper) option than CAMS. They claim to have a better insurance policy, fewer stringent regulations that turn people away from the sport, and perhaps most importantly, are there for the benefit of the competitor.

They say that safety is their most important consideration when issuing permits for events run under their regulations, however they stress that clubs are then able to run their events on their terms – rather than via a stringent set of seemingly unworkable guidelines.

AASA claim that they have the competitors and officials interests at heart, and that their main aim is to encourage more people to become involved in motorsport, without the difficulties that can occur in the CAMS system.

Like being able to choose your internet service provider or your electricity supplier, many car clubs are now seriously considering the AASA system as a viable alternative to CAMS.

Here at RallySport Magazine, we have no allegiance one way or the other, however if the future success (or otherwise) of motorsport at all levels is at stake, then we firmly believe that people should be able to choose the best provider for their particular needs.

That may well be CAMS, but if it’s not, car clubs and individuals shouldn’t be dissuaded from trying a different option. In Australia, that’s what we call democracy.

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