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Posted by Christine Armishaw on 21/10/2021.
EA CEO Darren Gocher

CEO News from Darren Gocher - October 2021

I am pleased to report that during the time since I joined EA in May, many positive processes have been put in place and EA is beginning to move forward in a direction that bodes well for the sport and those involved in it.

We have improved financial stability, including the reinstatement of Sport Australia funding. We have also established strong Board and Committee governance; further developed safety, risk management and integrity protocols; and strengthened EA relationships and standing with key stakeholders, including the FEI, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

I am pleased to announce we have now formally adopted and are in the process of implementing the National Integrity Framework, in partnership with Sport Integrity Australia (SIA). This framework will provide improved policies and national consistency around:

  • Member Protection
  • Child Safeguarding
  • Improper use of Drugs and Medicine
  • Competition Manipulation and Sports Wagering

Adoption of this framework also enables EA access to SIA complaints and grievance management processes.

During October, EA registered with Reconciliation Australia and we have committed to creating a ‘Reflect RAP’ (Reconciliation Action Plan). During this 12-month process, we will scope the EA capacity for reconciliation and explore our current sphere of influence, to determine the EA vision for reconciliation and improve relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and relevant stakeholders.

Looking ahead, it’s important to us all that not only the fundamentals of sport are in place, which is critical to the continuation of Equestrian in Australia, but that we have a pathway forward for the further growth and evolution of it.

The EA Strategy Review and Reform Process has begun and will involve extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, as we navigate through evaluation and development of new structure, strategy and transformation plans and their implementation.

Gathering member feedback is imperative during this process. We will be reaching out to our members throughout this review, seeking your valued contribution, as we look to collectively foster and improve our sport.

We acknowledge a positive culture within equestrian sport is critical in order for Equestrian to grow. A culture that supports our members and participants, from grassroots and up, across the whole sport is the only one that will enable our sport to flourish. Safety is a priority, and our members are entitled to fair treatment, impartiality, and a safe environment to enjoy their equestrian pursuits.

We have established a National Health & Safety Committee to oversee issues across all disciplines in the sport. We aim to provide a healthy, safe and nurturing environment for all our athletes, with comprehensive training & education; strategically designed events, club and training activities that minimise risk, with swift health and safety responses; and, for our equine partners, we have a focus on best-practice equine welfare, during both training and competition.

There’s been a lot of work that’s gone into improving safety in the sport, especially around the implementation of the recommendations from the coronial inquiry. Sport Australia funding has supported us with it, in addition, EA is very appreciative of the funding provided by Terry Snow. His contribution towards the Making Eventing Safer fund has enabled us to drastically increase safety measures within our sport.

We are also pleased to share that our first EA National Health and Safety Online Conference kicks off in November, this event is free to EA members.

We hope you will join us.

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