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Posted by Marketing on 27/08/2020.

Equestrian WA Member's Forum

Last night, Equestrian WA held a members' forum to discuss the EA voluntary administration, the proposed new EA Constitution, and the EWA board's actions and concerns on the issues this had raised.

The meeting was attended by sixty-two people, and an additional eight joined via Zoom. The meeting was opened by EWA Chairperson Ron Fleming giving an overview of the actions EWA, EVic, ENSW, ESA and ETas have taken since the 2nd Creditors meeting to enable the EA administrator KordaMentha to propose a new EA Constitution that is supported by EWA and the other 4 States, which would meet the terms of the DoCA and avoid the liquidation of EA.

This included the EA Board nomination committee and that 75% of State branches are required to support constitutional changes in addition to the members' vote.

EWA was honoured to welcome Mr Steve Humfrey Director, Sport and Recreation Development, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Mr Rod Thompson CEO SportWest to speak about sport reform and the impacts on members, clubs and the organisation.
Rob spoke about the importance of the reform process being driven by members for the benefit of the people involved in the sport and its significance, and then decide the structure required to govern it. He spoke about the concerns of reform being driven by a corporate/ finance approach rather than a service/needs member approach. He also spoke of the issues faced by the other fourteen WA sports which are going through a restructure, often involving reduced service with an East Coast-based head office and sometimes higher costs. He highlighted the need for members to remain engaged in the reform process.

Steve spoke of the State Government's requirements that grants must remain in the state for state programs. He also raised that restructure at a national level is often brought about by national funding issues that then drive the restructuring process. This has proven to be a poor model to enforce change and often results in poor outcomes. He also stressed the need for a review period for the restructure that is not rushed.

Questions to Steve, Rod and Ron were followed and included why the EWA Board required the inclusion of the 75% of States to approve EA Constitution change. It was reaffirmed that it is the belief of the Board that it is essential to protect the equitable vote and be able to reject change that might be let by the larger States or interest groups that would have very poor outcomes for WA members.

Also asked were, what reform EA had not been willing to address that had led to State issues with EA? It was mentioned that one such issue was the MOU between the EA and States. This is years out of date, and that considerable work had to be performed by the states and EA to identify EA/State roles, responsibilities and services, but this had not been progressed by EA once nearly completed.

A question was asked how does a member complain about EWA, and if there is a sports ombudsman? Rob responded that concerns regarding the organisation can be raised either to SportWest or DSR. Still, the best place to start is by raising concerns directly to the Sport.

Concerns were also raised about sport governance, sport committee, State board, EA discipline committee and representation through these levels. The EWA board has been and will continue to meet with the Sport committees as a group and will be looking at inviting EWA Sport committee chairs to Board meetings.

Also, another question asked during the night was; since the EA Board placed EA into voluntary administration during COVID-19 siting possible insolvency, that during this time the legal responsibility on penalties for trading insolvent was suspended, and that EA has been able to meet KordaMentha fees of $250,000 while remaining solvent. Ron mentioned how, within a couple of weeks of being appointed KordaMentha reduced the EA administration levy by 25% again, a strange action if they were appointed because of potential insolvency.

EWA would like to thank all that attended and contributed.

Please find the link to the results of the EWA member survey, here.

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