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by Matt de Neef
September 11, 2020
It’s been nearly six months now since the last significant development in the AusCycling story. Back in late March the Cycling Australia states and territories voted against joining the new organisation, meaning road and track wouldn’t join MTB and BMX in the initiative to unify Australia’s cycling disciplines.
Now, after six months of near-radio silence, things are starting to heat up again on the AusCycling front.
As things currently stand, AusCycling is set to come into operation on October 1, combining MTB and BMX. And while road and track weren’t going to be part of it, it now appears they could.
As a quick refresher, six of Cycling Australia’s eight constituent state and territory bodies needed to vote in favour of AusCycling for Cycling Australia to join. Three state bodies — Cycling New South Wales, Cycling Tasmania and WestCycle — voted against the proposal in March, scuppering CA’s chances. But one of those states looks set to reconsider its ‘no’ vote.
In late August Cycling Tasmania announced that it would be holding a “special state council” to give clubs a chance to re-vote on the AusCycling proposal. Since voting ‘no’ in March, the organisation has had a leadership change and in the August announcement new president Justin McMullen suggested Cycling Tasmania is now in support of AusCycling.
“Since our AGM in May, the new board of Cycling Tasmania [has] consulted widely with our members regarding AusCycling,” he wrote. “Following that consultation we believe that the consensus is that we should move towards AusCycling along with the other states who have voted in favour.”
Cycling Tasmania’s constituent clubs will meet this weekend to re-vote on the proposal. And then next weekend there’ll be a Cycling Australia meeting where all state and territory bodies will vote again.
Assuming Cycling Tasmania votes ‘yes’ — which it is expected to do — Cycling Australia will have the necessary six of eight states to join AusCycling.
UPDATE: CyclingTips understands that all present Cycling Tasmania members (19 of 19) voted in support of AusCycling at Saturday’s meeting.
But what of the other ‘no’ states, New South Wales and Western Australia?
According to an open letter sent out this week, Cycling New South Wales will remain a ‘no’. Like Cycling Tasmania, Cycling New South Wales has undergone a recent leadership change with Matt Bazzano taking over from Glenn Vigar as president and chairman just this week. Bazzano seems more open to AusCycling than his predecessor, with his letter mentioning the possibility of “a delayed merger of Cycling NSW into the AusCycling model, to offer AusCycling and Cycling NSW an opportunity to assess the performance of AusCycling.”
He added that “the Cycling NSW board is not opposed to joining AusCycling but cannot encourage members to vote for AusCycling until further questions are answered.”
In his letter Bazzano detailed those questions, adding that “we still have concerns and questions about the current structure, support and financial position for Cycling NSW clubs in any future AusCycling model.”
Over in Western Australia, WestCycle continues to rail against the project. In a press release today, the organisation took aim at Cycling Australia’s notice of the meeting for the AusCycling re-vote.
“Today WestCycle has written to the Board of Cycling Australia to inform them of deficiencies in their Notice of General Meeting dated 28th August 2020 and we immediately call on Cycling Australia to cancel the pending General Meeting and follow the appropriate processes provided for in the Constitution and the Corporations Act,” the organisation said in a press release. “Of primary concern to WestCycle is the failure of Cycling Australia to provide meaningful and required information for a decision to be formed by members.”
CEO Matt Fulton wrote that “the latest financial modelling provided was compiled in October 2019, using assumptions as far back as 2017. Since that time the economy has significantly changed, as have the financial positions of many organisations involved. To request a decision of such significance is made based on this information is one that no sensible or well governed organisation would make in any industry.
“Given AusCycling goes live in less than a month, it is incumbent on Cycling Australia to provide the required information for an appropriate process of evaluation to be conducted prior to a vote being held.”
Cycling Victoria, meanwhile, has long been supportive of AusCycling and voted in support of road and track joining the project back in March. But today a group of 10 Victorian clubs called for a special general meeting to decide whether that support should continue, in light of the economic impacts of COVID-19.
“No new information has been provided in regard to the implications of the current economic situation on AusCycling’s implementation or viability,” the clubs wrote in a press release. It’s not yet clear if and when Cycling Victoria will meet.
So where does that leave us? Assuming Cycling Tasmania switches to a ‘yes’ vote as is expected, and all other states vote as they did in March — including Victoria — then road and track will join AusCycling after all.
That seems the most likely outcome at this stage, but we won’t know for certain until after the Cycling Tasmania meeting this weekend, and the Cycling Australia meeting the weekend after that. As ever in the AusCycling saga, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.