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Open Letter to MTBA members


Flynny's picture

By Flynny - Posted on 04 October 2019

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.
Dear MTBA Financial Member,

As you may be aware, the MTBA Board has been investigating options for forming a new entity to better represent all cycling disciplines in Australia.

MTBA has strongly represented the interest of our members and the sport of mountain biking in discussions and taken a key role in the ongoing planning with Sport Australia, BMX Australia and Cycling Australia.

These discussions have developed and refined a new proposed model for cycling in Australia, known as AusCycling.

AusCycling will replace 19 existing entities, including Mountain Bike Australia, BMX Australia, Cycling Australia and State and Territory based associations of BMX and Cycling Australia, if approved by the relevant memberships.

This will result in some significant changes, including:

One united entity for all riders to join whatever the discipline.
The option of one license to ride or race whatever the discipline.
Greater capacity and funding than MTBA’s current organisational capacity, with a new national membership of 55,000 that would attract greater investment from Sport Australia and appeal to sponsors.
Digital transformation delivering better services and benefits for members and Clubs.
Efficiencies and cost savings created by pooled resources and funding, including staff, cash reserves, memberships and numerous other assets. (Note: Funding for existing specific programs will not be pooled.)
A national office providing strategic and operational support to State and Territory offices.
State/Territory Advisory Committees (with an equal number of representatives from all disciplines) able to represent and lobby for local communities and assist State/ Territory offices.

MTBA Directors agree the establishment of AusCycling and the subsequent benefits to mountain biking, its members, affiliates, stakeholders and cycling as a whole are too great to ignore.

Your Board has advocated strongly to best represent the interests of all MTBA members and clubs in the formation of AusCycling. We are confident the new entity is a strong, positive proposition for our sport and the opportunities that unification present are worth pursuing.

The final decision however, rests with our 17,000+ members.

All MTBA financial members will be asked to vote on whether MTBA should become part of AusCycling, at the MTBA AGM to be held 30 November 2019.

Full information on the AGM, the proposed motions and how to vote will be distributed over the coming weeks and in accordance with MTBA’s Constitution, but importantly please note:

You can cast your vote on this decision either in person at the AGM or via proxy.
75% of people who extend their vote will need to support the motions for them to successfully pass.

Of course, you need to understand what all this means for mountain biking and you before you vote. We encourage you to learn as much as possible about AusCycling.

AusCycling information including FAQ’s, the benefits, governance structure and membership fee model can be found at www.auscycling.com.au

To learn more, you can:
Listen to previous Roadshows online available from the AusCycling website & Facebook page.
Follow the AusCycling social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter.
Read and watch everything on the AusCycling website at www.auscycling.com.au
Register on the AusCycling website to receive further updates as they become available.

As part of this process the Board of MTBA have been driven by questioning:
What mountain biking could look like in five, ten, even 25 years in the future?
Is MTBA sustainable in its current form?
What will MTBA’s ongoing capacity be, in the large and competitive world of sport?
How will mountain biking compete for resources and funding?
What opportunities are there for mountain biking, with increased resourcing, to realise its potential?
What could this mean for our kids and high performance riders?

We strongly encourage you to have your say on this important decision.

If you have any questions, please ask us directly via auscycling@mtba.org.au or ask questions via www.auscycling.com.au

Please, get informed and get ready to vote. The future of our sport is riding on it.

Yours faithfully,

Lee Brentzell
Chair | Mountain Bike Australia

Shane Coppin
CEO | Mountain Bike Australia

I'm not completely up on the ins and outs of this but TBH I'm worried it may be a massive step backwards.
Some history
Some time in the dim dark passed the Australain Mountain Bike Association merged with other cycling disciplines to from Cycling Australia. Mountain bikers were generally unhappy with this situation as we generated a lot of revenue but got little of the funding from a body who systematically failed to understand grassroots mountain biking. As a result, they formed a breakaway group, MTBA.

This lead to various issues. Internationally only 1 governing body could be recognised from cycling as a whole in each country. This meant while MTBA had the bulk of the mountain bike members and ran the bulk of mountain bike races only races held by CA had any international recognition. So for the top end riders trying to earn points for Wolrd Cup races it was a pain as they had to have a membership to both organisations and race CA sanction events which were few and IIRC poorly attended

After a few years of this set up there was some sanity with MTBA being sanctioned by CA to run mountain biking while still being semi-autonomous.

A few years later CA saw the money was still with their dirt brethern and decided they wanted to take control of the national series. It was a flop with CA again failing to understand grassroot mountain biking and clashing the National champs with a rather popular participation event.

I recall CA reps at the time on SBS dirty, bewildered and bemaoning why 2000 riders would go to a non-sanctioned event while only 70 or so supported their National Championships. I remember thinking Athletics Australia would never be silly enough to put the track champs on the same day as the city to surf and not understand why more people would be interested in the latter

Anyhoo they threw it in the too hard basket, saying how much it cost them. And handed national races back to MTBA

A few years later we see MTBA bailing out a cash strapped CA with a loan, not sure if that ever got paid back.

Anyway I doubt it will affect us too much, as I gave up hosting national races years ago and we tend to do our own thing anyway, but worth every member looking into the finer details and casting a vote
(Details on how to vote will come)

Best Mountain Bike