Our gay (LGBTI) community has hundreds of groups that provide a wide range of fun, social and sporting activities and support those in need. Some groups you will never know exist until something goes wrong in your life, but they are there and almost entirely run by volunteers.
In Queensland and Northern NSW alone there are tens of thousands of people that are involved in groups or attend their events. Sadly, sometimes crappy things happen and sometimes people get hurt. What happens then? The world has changed and like it or not insurance is now a part of our lives. Many groups, incorporated or not, have not even thought about insurance as they think they are just a social gathering. But bad things can happen, even at a sausage sizzle.
After something goes wrong people look at each other and think ‘What do we do now?’ Medicare may not cover the costs if you were attending an organised event, and may refer you to their public liability insurance. But what insurance, you say? Suddenly all the people that organised the event (even if there is a committee or not) can become personally liable, even if they weren’t there.
Insurance is the solution but while it can be a minefield, in 99% of instances there will be a policy available to provide adequate protection. Be careful as you need to make sure your activities are covered, as every group is different. Some premiums may seem high but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. In a recent case, a volunteer was king hit by a drunk while they were providing meals to the needy. The claim was that they were not provided with a safe workplace.
There is a personal risk to any director, office holder, organiser – even if they are innocent – as the defense costs can be significant. Check your group and make sure everyone is adequately covered.
We need all the groups in Queensland to stay intact and not lose any of your valuable work as this is an essential part of our community.