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by Matt de Neef
October 29, 2019
Photography by AusCycling
Cycling New South Wales will vote against the AusCycling initiative after the state’s clubs rallied strongly against the proposal.
In electronic polling that closed Monday, 62.5% of votes submitted by NSW road and track cycling clubs were against AusCycling — a proposal that would amalgamate Australia’s cycling disciplines under one body, dissolving Cycling Australia (CA), Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), BMX Australia (BMXA), and their respective state/territory bodies in the process.
Fewer than 20% of NSW clubs voted in favour of the proposal.
Cycling NSW has vocally opposed AusCycling since its inception. While the initiative is a collaboration between CA, MTBA and BMXA, Cycling NSW views AusCycling as a “hostile takeover” by Cycling Australia, an organisation it sees as “financially weak and administratively inept”.
Cycling NSW is resentful of the fact that its considerable cash reserves will be tipped into the AusCycling pool after the organisation helped to financially support Cycling Australia five years ago.
“We propped them up,” Cycling NSW president Glenn Vigar told CyclingTips in September. “They still owe us money. We loaned them $240,000 in 2014 on the understanding it’d be paid back over three years. It’s now 2019 and they’ve paid back half. And of course if [AusCycling] goes ahead they don’t pay back the other half.
“We have $1.2 million dollars in the bank and I’d be a very poor president as the custodian of all that just to blindly hand it over to an unknown. And I see this new business, this new identity, as an unknown. We think the amalgamation of the three sports at both a national and a state level is very achievable and would do wonders to our business. But we will not defederate.”
Cycling NSW’s electronic poll was conducted via SurveyMonkey. The language of the question made the state body’s position very clear.
Throughout September AusCycling visited every Australian state and territory to spruik the benefits of its proposal and answer questions from interested members of the cycling community. In response, Cycling NSW set up its own local roadshow, hoping to convince NSW clubs to vote against the proposal.
In order for road and track cycling to join AusCycling, six of Cycling Australia’s eight constituent state and territory bodies — 75% — need to vote in favour of the proposal. Like Cycling NSW, WestCycle — the governing body in Western Australia — has been a vocal critic of AusCycling. It has already aligned its cycling disciplines under one banner and supports similar action at a national level. However it is against abolishing the existing state and territory structure.
“We are strongly against a model that removes our sovereignty, autonomy, assets and leadership to a centralised organisation with no track record of servicing our members or managing financials appropriately,” WestCycle CEO Matt Fulton told CyclingTips in September. “There is no model that sees the unification at a state level that we support.”
WestCycle clubs are expected to vote against AusCycling, giving WestCycle a mandate to do likewise at a Cycling Australia EGM in the coming months.
CyclingTips understands that Cycling Tasmania also has concerns about AusCycling. Should it or any other state/territory body vote against the proposal, that would mean Cycling Australia lacks the 75% approval required for a full integration of road and track cycling into AusCycling.
How AusCycling will look in that case is not entirely clear. With BMXA and MTBA likely to vote in support of the proposal, AusCycling looks set to proceed with those two disciplines, at a minimum.
The remaining state and territory bodies will ask their clubs to vote on AusCycling over the next month.