10 November 2019
PROPOSED PARTNERSHIP MODEL BETWEEN WESTCYCLE AND AUSCYCLING
WestCycle has conducted a vote of our Member Organisations, Affiliate Members, and Affiliated Clubs (Member Stakeholders) on the AusCycling proposal. The Member Stakeholders request consideration from AusCycling for a partnership model between WestCycle and AusCycling in Western Australia as outlined in the attached document.
WestCycle acknowledges the efforts of everyone who has been involved in recent discussions on governance reform in Australian cycling. The current debate provides a strong platform for reform that can provide an appropriate model of governance for all stakeholders. Indeed, this is the journey that WestCycle has itself been on for the last 8 years.
WestCycle, our Member Stakeholders (and we believe the majority of the general riding community in Western Australia), all of whom we represent, support many of the reforms that have been proposed by AusCycling. We have considered the current proposed model and the potential benefits it may provide to the cycling community.
Given the relatively sophisticated and unified structure of WestCycle as it stands, WestCycle believes that the question should be – “how do we optimise the existing model” to deliver the proposed benefits of AusCycling in Western Australia?
This document provides further background and the current position on AusCycling in Western Australia in relation to these reforms and proposes an alternative model which the Board of WestCycle and our Members believe is the most appropriate governance model for cycling in Western Australia.
In order to come to this position, we have heavily engaged with the riding community of Western Australia.
WestCycle is the peak body representing all disciplines and forms of cycling throughout Western Australia. WestCycle was formed in 2011 to address the fragmented nature of cycling at the time and to provide a single voice that could represent the interests and needs of all cyclists in the community. At that time, the sport was seen as disorganised, received limited government funding, and held a relatively low profile amongst the community and government stakeholders. The similarities between that situation and the current National situation are similar.
Since its formation the organisation has continued to evolve significantly over this eight-year period and is now widely recognised amongst the community, government and other stakeholders as the representative body for all of cycling in Western Australia.
WestCycle’s membership structure is unique. WestCycle is not just a State Sporting Association, our role extends far beyond this as the single representative body for the sport and non-sport aspects of riding.
WestCycle has four tiers of Membership:
- Member Organisations
- Affiliate Organisations
- Affiliate Clubs
- Individual Members
WestCycle is recognised as the representative voice for cycling in the media, State Parliament, corporate entities and the riding community. From a State Government perspective WestCycle works closely with all Government Departments, sitting on numerous Committees, Advisory Groups and consultation councils.
The below graphic outlines the different functions that fall under the responsibility of WestCycle.
WestCycle also has established a range of Advisory Sub-Committees that inform the organisation strategically, with each group having an Elected Board Director creating a direct conduit to the Board of WestCycle, as well as operationally with a General Manager working with each group. These groups of volunteers contribute significantly to the direction of the organisation and ensure we have a well canvassed stance across the full breadth of riding. Not only do they represent Clubs; they represent other significant organisations in the specific disciplines:
- Road – Sport Advisory Group
- Road – Recreation Advisory Group
- Mountain Bike Advisory Group
- Trail Development Advisory Group
- Transport, Safety and Advocacy Advisory Group
- Track Advisory Group
This model has proven to be successful with recent achievements including;
- Highest per capita participation rate of any state.
- Record spending on infrastructure (shared paths) – highest per capita of any state.
- Significant government investment on Mountain Bike trails, including recent announcements for funding in Collie and Dwellingup in the States southwest.
- Working closely with the government to successfully introduce Minimum Passing Distance legislation.
- Development of business cases for a velodrome, criterium circuit and BMX state facility including a central cycling hub in the State.
- Development of a State Cycle Tourism Strategy
In summary, Western Australia already has a unified, consolidated and successful governance structure in place for cycling. The current AusCycling proposal recommends that this structure be removed and replaced, administered via a single national body.
AusCycling Proposed Governance Reform
WestCycle strongly supports initiatives that will improve the governance of cycling in Australia. There are many aspects of the proposed reforms that WestCycle supports and wish to see implemented. Areas of support and agreement include:
- Amalgamation of the three national bodies into a new National Sporting Organisation.
- Initiatives that will deliver improved services to members and clubs.
- Improvement in the alignment of a single national voice to represent cycling nationally, noting that the current (proposed) model does not fully capture recreational and advocacy bodies at a national level as WestCycle does in Western Australia.
- Proposed initiatives to implement national programs such as national bike education and a national volunteer program.
- Streamlining and simplification of a membership license option, noting that Veterans / Masters cycling would ideally also be part of this model (and WestCycle believes it can deliver this.
Concerns with the AusCycling Proposed Governance Reform
While there are many aspects of the proposed model that WestCycle supports, the adoption of a unitary model of governance, in the context of Western Australia, however the removal of WestCycle from the cycling landscape is not something that our Members believe is in the best interest of Western Australian bike riders.
The federated model of governance has been the foundation of Australia both as a nation and in the structure of sport for over 100 years. While the AusCycling proposal claims that this model creates inefficiency, it does not properly acknowledge the benefits that come from this model of governance. The federated model of governance provides the necessary protection to ensure that decision making and accountability takes place at the local level. Decisions can be made that reflect the needs of the local community, with state boards empowered to respond to the specific needs of their community that is difficult to achieve under a centralised national system. The federated model ensures that there is accountability at a state level, with members able to exert a greater influence on local level decision making than will be achieved under the proposed voting model under the AusCycling model.
Many of the identified benefits of a unitary model can be achieved through strong leadership, collaboration and alignment, without requiring untested structural reform. Sharing of knowledge, centralising certain services and establishment of career pathways are examples of things that should be happening today. In this context we believe that a partnership approach between WestCycle and AusCycling can achieve many of these outcomes.
Western Australia – Beyond Cycling as a Sport
Further, and as noted above, cycling has undergone a significant transformation in Western Australia over the past eight years, with WestCycle having become the peak body with oversight for all aspects of cycling from competitive road and track, mountain biking, recreational cycling and transport, safety and advocacy.
Given the initial proposed AusCycling focus on aligning the sport of cycling, WestCycle does not believe that the new national body will have sufficient commitment and capacity to respond to the needs of the non-sport related aspects of cycling (e.g., transport, safety, advocacy, veterans and non-competitive recreational elements of cycling) in the initial phase of its establishment. Given that these elements of cycling are key pillars of WestCycle’s broad-reaching mandate, it is WestCycle’s view that the proposed AusCycling model, in its current form, is inconsistent with the broader objectives of WestCycle, and as such cannot be supported by WestCycle in its current form.
Moreover, WestCycle has been advised by the WA State Government that the removal of WestCycle from the governance structure of cycling will result in a loss of State Government funding. On an annual basis, this represents circa $700,000 of revenue which would need to be replaced. Without any firm commitment that AusCycling will cover this loss of revenue to support the delivery of programs and services in Western Australia (critically, including those of a non-“sport” nature), the current proposed AusCycling model is not viable in a Western Australian context.
The broad mandate of WestCycle beyond the sport/competitive elements of cycling is fundamentally inconsistent with the purpose of the unified model currently proposed by AusCycling. As such, WestCycle is not in a position to support the proposed AusCycling model in its current form (which would effectively involve a merger of WestCycle with AusCycling and the likely loss of funding to support WestCycle’s broader remit).
WestCycle’s Proposed “Partnership Model”
WestCycle proposes that an alternative, “Partnership Model”, is adopted by AusCycling to ensure that supported elements such as unification of the national bodies can be progressed while addressing the concerns held by WestCycle and its Member Stakeholders. The proposed Partnership Model has been put to our Member Stakeholders with an overwhelming level of support for it.
It is not without precedent for a hybrid model to be adopted as part of a governance reform process. Touch Football Australia and more recently Golf Australia having adopted a hybrid model where some State Associations were wound up and other states retained independent legal structures.
The premise of the model is that WestCycle Incorporated remains as the governing body for cycling in Western Australia, and is recognised by AusCycling as the only member body of AusCycling in Western Australia.
A formal Memorandum of Understanding or Service Level Agreement would be entered into between AusCycling and WestCycle outlining the respective roles and responsibilities of both parties. WestCycle would be recognised as the governing body with responsibility for the delivery of programs and services across Western Australia in line with AusCycling’s Strategic Plan. A Memorandum of Understanding would be established to clearly outline roles and responsibilities between organisations. Areas to be discussed and agreed upon would include: service delivery; roles and responsibilities; strategic plan alignment; membership structure and revenue; reporting relationships. This will be further developed through mutual consultation as part of the agreement. The WestCycle CEO and team would work closely with the AusCycling Executive team and the State and Territory General Managers. The proposed governance model is depicted in the image below.
Summary – The Way Forward
Various aspects of the “Partnership Model” will require collaborative discussion to refine a level of detail that all parties are agreeable to. WestCycle is keen and willing to engage in a positive manner with AusCycling.
For your information and in the interests of transparency, we have included results of polling below.
The Board of WestCycle would like to formally invite representatives of the AusCycling Steering Committee to Perth to hold discussions regarding the proposed “Partnership Model” with a view to forming a Memorandum of Understanding between parties and agree the way forwards.
“Do you support WestCycle in formally presenting this structure to the steering committee of AusCycling as the preferred model for Western Australia?”