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Highlights from the Equestrian Australia 2021 AGM

The Equestrian Australia 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held this week. There were over 180 attendees at the Zoom meeting, with lots of engagement from members.

EA Board Chair, Mark Bradley, delivered his report in which he outlined the fundamentals the new board had to establish as the first port of call. “Our immediate priorities were to get a handle on the financial position and to ensure that the company would remain viable as a going concern; to ensure that we would be able to continue to provide services to members including the insurance program, registration and accreditation for riders, horses, coaches, officials etc.; and to re-establish relationships with key external stakeholders including Sport Australia, AIS, AOC and Paralympics Australia, and the FEI,” said Mark.

Mark highlighted that the reform of Equestrian Australia did not end with the VA process, rather it had only just begun. “With solid foundations and a great team in place, we are now moving into the next chapter which is our review of EA’s strategy and the development of our plan for organisational reform which began late in 2021 and will run through until at least the middle of this year,” he said.

“This is undoubtedly the most important project for our sport in a number of generations, and we encourage everybody to play a role in the process. The vision of the Board is to create a structure that delivers the strategy to enable sustainable growth,” said Mark.

Equestrian Australia CEO, Darren Gocher, discussed the large amount of work that has been done around Health and Safety. “EA has done much in the way of improvements and implementation of safety protocols, including the Coronial Inquest recommendations. Almost all the recommendations have been implemented against a detailed safety plan, signed off by independent experts.”

Darren referenced the importance of EA re-securing Sport Australia funding. “As a result of the progress EA has made in governance and other foundations, and with a new plan on participation and inclusion, we were able to re-secure Sport Australia’s Core Participation funding. This was a major step for the sport. It was a huge loss to the sport at the outset of VA and placed enormous strain on financials. Being able to re-establish the confidence of Sport Australia to secure this much-needed funding, which the sport would really struggle without, was a big win for the organisation and will assist in growing the sport at all levels.”

Another step forward has been that EA has signed up to the National Integrity Framework and is part of the National Integrity Manager pilot and the Safeguarding in Sport Continuous Improvement Program. “This has given the sport best in class, nationally consistent Member protection, Child safeguarding policies and complaints procedures,” said Darren.

The financials were presented by Richard Vaughan, Chair of the EA Finance Committee. The EA financials demonstrated that the organisation is in a strong financial position, despite the impacts of Voluntary Administration and COVID. The loss of $35k, despite the large expense incurred with the administration, was better than what was forecasted.

The Elected Director candidate, Suzie Batten, was not elected.

The AGM also saw the conclusion of terms for Board members Lucy Galovicova, Michelle McLean and Alex Vallentine.

There was a high degree of member interaction, with many questions asked on a range of topics, in particular a number of questions on the Constitution and the authority and obligations of the Nominations Committee. The responses to the questions asked prior to and during the meeting will be shared with members in the coming days.

Article courtesy of Equestrian Australia

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