Equestrian Australia in voluntary administration
Equestrian Australia has gone into voluntary administration to avoid insolvency, following the withdrawal of funding by Sport Australia.
The peak body has, over the last couple of years seen a continuous erosion of trust and legitimacy, questioned by its own members for failing to serve their interests and uphold its own vision, purpose and values.
The announcement comes a month after EA’s chair Ricky McMillan and former board member Gillian Canapini resigned from the board.
McMillan, an Australian Olympic dressage rider and judge, had joined the EA Board in November 2019 with a vision to change the organisation’s culture and re-build members’ trust but left saying change was unobtainable with the organisation’s current structure.
Combined with the impact of COVID-19 on their forecast revenue and loss of funding, the organisation says it was at risk of trading insolvently.
“Clearly, the current EA model does not work. The intent of entering Voluntary Administration is to avoid insolvency, which would be disastrous, and to create the conditions for a successful and sustainable equestrian community into the future.”
The EA High Performance (HP) program that supports the teams still in training for the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed to 2021, will now be overseen by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
“The program will continue unabated in pursuit of equestrian gold at the upcoming Olympics. We have been advised that there will be no change to HP staffing arrangements.
“The Administrators will take control of the remainder of EA. The constitution is effectively set aside in favour of their powers under the Corporations Act. The operations of EA continue without change at this stage and there is no planned loss of jobs.
“The Administrator will work with the creditors of EA to determine the conditions for exiting Voluntary Administration.
“This process is intended to be rapid, envisaged by the Corporations Act to take about a month. This will enable EA to rebuild as a viable, representative, democratic and stable national sporting organisation that is retuned to a focus on sport as quickly as possible.
“In our sport of so many diverse interests, rarely do our branches, committees, and members share a cohesive view. Disagreement, however, should not be destructive.
“We should strive to improve the structure, the culture, and the performance – all in the interests of greater opportunity, participation and enjoyment.”
EA is entrusted with the administration of equestrian sport in Australia at every level, from promoting participation in horse-related activities, to managing the Olympic and Paralympic teams.
The current Directors have agreed to work with the Administrator to rebuild the organisation as quickly as possible.