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Posted by Danila Lochrin on 12/08/2020.

Five States Vision Rejected

It is resoundingly clear that the majority of the national membership, the Equestrian Australia (EA) National Discipline Committees Chairs, Sports Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) are neither aligned nor support the vision of the five states:  Equestrian NSW (ENSW), Equestrian Victoria (EVIC), Equestrian Tasmania (ETAS), Equestrian South Australia (ESA) and Equestrian Western Australia (EWA).

The five states vision was un­supported by the major stakeholders and rejected at the second meeting of creditors which was held on Tuesday 14 July 2020.

Members should be aware the work undertaken by the five state branches is not considered to be inclusive or consultative by Equestrian Northern Territory (ENT) or Equestrian Queensland (EQ).  This is evidenced by:

  • ENT has been excluded from the process since June 2020
  • EQ has not been invited to attend any meetings between the State Branch Chairs since 1 July 2020.
  • No Chair from New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia or Western Australia has contacted EQ to engage or consult with EQ about the work being done by the five state branches.
  • No representative of the five state branches has made any contact with the Chair of EQ about the work being undertaken by the five branches.

ENT members need to be concerned, that if the five states will not consult or engage with ENT about constitutional changes and make up of an interim EA board, how can their voices be heard on the much greater question of EA governance reform? How will ENT be able to protect the services and opportunities currently provided to its members into the future.

Why ENT is not a recognised State Branch?

On paper in the current EA Constitution ENT is administered by EQ.

Many years ago, there was a major overhaul of the organisation and constitution, changing naming from Equestrian Federation of Australia to Equestrian Australia.

It was during the time the six states agreed, with some hesitation from EQ that ENT would be administered by EQ on paper, however in reality ENT would remain as its own incorporation, manage its own funds, represent at state competitions, but would not be a stakeholder of EA.

The decision was based on two key points:

  • ENT as an organisation was in its infancy at the time and had limited ability to participate in an administration capacity on a national level
  • The national database at the time only allow for six states

There was mutual trust and respect between ENT and EQ (that continues today), with the acknowledgement and understanding of operations in the NT.  EQ at the time had the capacity to provide administration support to ENT, this was in the form of processing memberships and horse registrations.

For a period of approximately two years, on a monthly basis ENT paid EQ an administration fee, on top of national levies paid to EA.  Once ENT was operational to the similar level of its interstate counterparts ENT regained the processing of memberships and horse registrations.

However, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the Northern Territory Branch and associated voting rights on National Discipline Committees, item 2.05

‘Also agree to the presence of representation from the Northern Territory at EA Joint Sessions, including meetings of State Branch Chairs and State Branch CEOs’

 Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Northern Territory Branch

In accordance with the MOU the five state branches do not have the right to exclude representation from ENT.  Furthermore, to date they have not provided a direct legitimate reason nor the courtesy why ENT has been excluded from this process since June.

These actions by the five states can only suggest they are not willing to engage in open and transparent communication with those who are not aligned with their thinking and not receptive to other ideas.

Five states rejected DOCA  

The five states Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) on voting reform was initially put forward to allow for an alternative to the ‘one member, one vote’ KordaMentha DOCA.  They proposed that the voting rights be changed to the seven states/ territory each with one vote, the National Discipline committees each with one vote, each of the state Discipline committees each with one vote.  This would mean a change of 6 voting members to 56, but not each individual member.

However, since the second creditors meeting on 14 July 2020, where the KordaMentha DOCA was approved by members, the five states are now completely excluding ENT from the process. It may be coincidence that ENT members voted for the KordaMentha DOCA?

Lack of Support from Smaller States

The five states have continued to express concern regarding the ‘one member, one vote’ concept and the negative impact it will have on the ‘smaller states’.  Smaller states being South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The Northern Territory is the smallest state in terms of membership numbers, yet the five states show no concern what may happen to the ENT membership.

Members of ENT ask the five states why a member from anywhere outside NT should have a voice and those inside the NT, should not, when we are all equally members.

How can ENT members protect their rights and interests as part of the governance reform?

ENT must be named in the EA Constitution as a stakeholder with voting rights.

If ENT is not included in the amended EA Constitution, the ENT board will have no reliable mechanism to voice the concerns of ENT members as part of the governance reform.

Whilst ENT can appreciate that the five states have concerns for the future; excluding those with alternative views, cannot lead to any sustainable outcomes for the sport into the future. Continuing down the same path will not grow our sport or membership or regain our funding from Sports Australia.

ENT fully supports ‘one member one vote’ as endorsed by members at the second creditors meeting on 14 July 2020, because each member, whether they are grass roots or high performance and anywhere in between they are just as important in EA.

ENT asks the five state branches to listen to their members, become inclusive and consultative, and to vote to implement the change in EA Constitution with the inclusion of ENT to rebuild EA so that we can all move forward.

If you have any questions they can be directed to the ENT General Manager via email [email protected] or mobile 0497 303 535.

Anne-Marie Cruickshank

Chair | Equestrian Northern Territory

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