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by Matt de Neef
November 18, 2019
Cycling Tasmania has announced that it intends to vote “no” to the AusCycling proposal to unify Australia’s cycling disciplines. That vote makes three Cycling Australia state/territory bodies that have opposed the initiative — after Cycling New South Wales and WestCycle — and means that, as things currently stand, Cycling Australia won’t get the 75% of ‘yes’ votes required to ensure road and track is part of AusCycling.
Cycling Tasmania’s decision comes after sending a two-question poll to its constituent clubs. The first, compulsory, question asked whether the clubs “agree to the proposal known as AusCycling” adding that answering ‘yes’ would lead to the closure of Cycling Tasmania and Cycling Australia, and that Cycling Tasmania’s existing assets would be transferred to AusCycling.
All 14 “financial” clubs under the Cycling Tasmania banner voted on this question. Five (36%) came out in support while nine (64%) voted against it. As per the Cycling Tasmania constitution, a ‘yes’ vote was required from 75% of clubs in order for the state body to vote ‘yes’.
“Cycling Tasmania will now advise the AusCycling Steering Committee that based upon the vote of member clubs, Tasmania cannot support AusCycling in its current form,” the organisation said in a press release.
Cycling Tasmania also asked its clubs whether they would support a version of AusCycling “delivered via a Federated Model of Sports Governance.” That is, a system where cycling disciplines are amalgamated, but where Cycling Tasmania continues to exist and is responsible for local MTB and BMX, in addition to road and track.
It is not clear how clubs voted on this question — Cycling Tasmania didn’t mention this question or the responses in its press release.
Cycling Tasmania has said that its board “fully support[s] the concept of AusCycling, One NSO [national sporting organisation] & One Licence [across disciplines]. The model of delivery is the only area of concern that requires negotiation.”
The organisation will “continue to work with the AusCycling Steering Committee to negotiate a compromise position that may be accepted by all member clubs.”
In recent months the AusCycling Steering Committee has said on multiple occasions that it won’t consider the possibility of a federated structure where state bodies continue to exist. As such, AusCycling finds itself at loggerheads with WestCycle, Cycling NSW and now Cycling Tasmania who all support AusCycling in principle, but are all opposed to disbanding at a state level.
As things currently stand, it would appear that road and track cycling won’t be part of the new AusCycling entity. That won’t be confirmed until a Cycling Australia meeting in December at which each of the state/territory bodies will formally submit their vote.
There’s still time for Cycling Tasmania, WestCycle and Cycling NSW to change their position. Indeed Cycling NSW is likely to hold a special general meeting in the coming weeks after a coalition of clubs called for a vote to replace a controversial online poll.
However, at the time of writing, the most likely outcome is that road and track cycling won’t be part of AusCycling. The initiative can still go ahead with just BMX and MTB, both of which are poised to vote in favour of the initiative.
Exactly what this means for Cycling Australia and the country’s road and track clubs remains to be seen. As the AusCycling website ominously points out, significant challenges might lie ahead for disciplines that aren’t part of AusCycling (and therefore don’t have NSO status).
“Sports that are not recognised as an NSO are not eligible to receive any funding from SportAUS, and receive reduced access to SportAUS resources, programs and support,” the site’s FAQ page reads. “In addition, unrecognised sports may have greater difficulty in receiving funds from other government entities (Federal, State and local), and in receiving recognition from entities such as the UCI.”