Overview of Policies for Community Use of School Facilities
In New South Wales and Victoria there are different agreements for one-off hires such as a performance or regular use for a period of up to 12 months, and where a group regularly uses a facility for more than 12 months or the “community use is of a commercial nature”. In some states the principal of a government school has the authority to enter into contractual agreements for using facilities, elsewhere (such as the Northern Territory) the principal is required to consult with the school council. In Western Australia principals can enter into agreements but ‘will consult with School Councils to establish the schedule of fees’.
Policies concerning insurance vary significantly from state to state. While it is common to require Public Liability Insurance with $10 million cover (NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, NT), in some states (South Australia) the policy gives principals discretion as to which groups require insurance. In Western Australia a lower level of cover ($5 million) is required for ‘passive activities’, which we assume would include most music activities, but users may also require Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If there was a competition for the policy most supportive of community use it would go to Tasmania, which covers Not For Profit community groups under departmental insurance where the community group does not already have Public Liability Insurance.
Some other potential barriers may not be as daunting as they seem. While schools generally require a risk assessment if a community group uses a school facility, often the onus is on the school to provide information that would be relevant to a risk assessment or even to carry out the risk assessment themselves.
Transparency and availability of information is not consistent for all states. We have attempted to provide information for all states but in some cases we could only access a limited amount of information, sometimes none at all. The only example we found of a basic fact sheet with information about Community Use of School Facilities was from New South Wales (see PDF).