Message to our members,
On Monday, 7 October, the Brunswick Cycling Club conducted its AGM. The new committee agreed it’s important we communicate to you our current position on AusCycling.
Over the month of September, the leaders of Cycling Australia, BMX Australia and Mountain Bike Australia conducted a number of roadshows/presentations across Australia to reveal their plans for a new cycling entity named AusCycling. These roadshows were also live streamed and are still available to view.
The Melbourne presentation took place on Wednesday 11 September and was well attended. The format was best suited to the presenters but left some time for questions. It’s a fair assumption to make that the overall vision of the proposal put forward has been favourably received but equally many questions have arisen.
The UCI recognise one body representing all three disciplines but as was pointed out in the Melbourne roadshow, Australia is of only a few countries that does not have them combined.
We are supportive of the plan to unify the 3 disciplines of road/track, BMX and Mountain Bike. This makes complete sense to us and we wonder why it hasn’t been done sooner though we are aware of the position by MTBA that a merger at national level is not feasible unless there is a complete unitary model adopted.
The Brunswick Cycling Club, along with a number of other Victorian and interstate clubs, has tried its best to analyse the proposal. Currently we don’t quite see how this proposal supports and strengthens Victorian members & clubs because it proposes to dissolve the current federated model – which should be responsible for membership servicing, staging events & races, & managing volunteers.
There have been outlined a number of inefficiencies that exist within the current model and we agree the new AusCycling should be responsible for People & Culture, High Performance, Licences, Sponsorship, Advocacy & Membership acquisition. Shared services such as accounting and CRM have already started to be adopted by the states and this should be accelerated so that one system is used by all states and at the national head office.
Instead of dissolving the state bodies we prefer the unification of the three disciplines at a state level, governed by a board which represents Victorian clubs and has the power to vote on board positions in AusCycling. This layer of governance, missing from the proposal, will protect the interests of Victorian members and clubs. This step will take the number of governing bodies from 19 to 8 (7 states/territories and 1 national). Importantly it would also mean state based funds remain in control of the states. This is important as we feel our ability to win state government grants is best achieved via lobbying at local and state government level. What we’d like to see is more collaboration with entities such as VicSport who are active in their support of other state organisations.
Other codes and cycling bodies have been used as examples to support the new model. We’d like to make it clear that in cricket, basketball and even AFL, the federated model, or at least a version of it, is in place. The investment in Victorian basketball is actually a great example of a federated model working effectively. A state based organisation working with a local council and state government to build a new complex in the city of Knox is due to the great work of Basketball Victoria and the State and local governments. In cycling, Canada has been held up as an example to follow. Cycling Canada operate in a federated model.
Sport Australia have endorsed what is referred to as the One Management model. This model has been the guiding light on the AusCycling proposal and has been rolled out in Golf, Sailing and Softball. In each case, the state bodies have expressed concerns and like all successful consultations, fair and transparent discussions have led to a compromise that has seen most parties more accepting of change.
So it’s not a question of whether the AusCycling proposal is the right one. It’s just a matter of timing and full unification is the right medium term answer. We do however believe that one payroll is an important element and preferably from as early as possible post the formation of the new business. To achieve this access to state funds would be necessary.
In our view the process has only just started and we need to take our time before we make a decision that will have long lasting consequences. So far we have seen an org chart, a detailed financial model but we’re yet to see a draft Strategy Plan. The governance model is fully worked through and there is a draft constitution which can be viewed here http://auscycling.com.au/wp-content/themes/aus-cycling/pdf/Draft-AusCycling-Constitution.pdf
There are also questions about voting rights. An MTBA member gets an individual vote on the proposal. A CA member doesn’t but clubs do. Our view is that we owe it to our members to ask them what they want their club to do, but this won’t be easy as many people only know what they have read on Facebook.
To conclude, we are not opposed to change – in fact we are a diverse and inclusive club because our culture is one that embraces change and new thinking. We are also rational optimists and will endorse a model when we are comfortable with most elements. We’re just not there yet. So, our position is undecided and we will continue to seek answers and also welcome more from our membership.
The future of our beloved sport is in our hands and we look forward to the unification of BMX, Mountain Bike and Cycling. This in itself is a major and important change and should not be delayed any longer.
As a valued member, we welcome your feedback. Our next meeting is Monday, 4 November and we will dedicate this meeting to settle on a position. If you cannot make the meeting but wish to ask questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in cycling