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Posted by Christine Armishaw on 22/12/2021.
EA CEO Darren Gocher

Christmas Message from CEO Darren Gocher

Wishing all our members, participants, coaches, officials, volunteers and equestrian community a very Merry Christmas. 

In what has been another challenging year with restrictions hampering competition and events, we have made significant progress on foundational work to enable a sustainable platform for our sport into the future 

We are pleased to share with you the progress that has been made in recent months.  There has been a lot achieved, but we know there is still a significant amount of hard work to go. The members are demanding change, rightfully so, and we are committed to driving a strong process to deliver it. 

I am excited about the prospects and potential going into 2022.  The sport is moving in a positive direction and I am sure we can continue to build on the amazing traditions to keep growing and thriving. 

The strategy and structure process will be demanding, but I intend to ensure it is a strong, open and transparent process, that is in the best interest of the sport long term. We need to ensure the sport is viable and sustainable into the future and this process is a one-time chance to take the necessary actions to ensure it. 

Coming out of Voluntary Administration (“VA”), the new Board was established, with a mandate to fix the foundations of the sport. The focal points included structure, governance, financials, safety, integrity and risk framework.  

These foundational initiatives have included the following:

  • Governance has been enhanced, with stability restored. We also now have a longer-term Governance Enhancement plan agreed with Sport Australia. 

  • A new leadership team taking shape. The organisation has been restructured to enable delivery of the key outcomes. 

  • EA has re-secured Sport Australia funding, which has, in turn, resulted in a greater level of financial stability. Despite the costs spent on VA and managing that process, the organisation is in a strong financial position, with longer term viability. 

  • Improvements and implementation of safety protocols including the Coronial Inquest recommendations. Almost all of the Coronial Recommendations have been implemented against a detailed safety plan, signed off by independent experts. 

  • EA has signed up to the National Integrity Framework and is part of the National Integrity Manager pilot and the Safeguarding in Sport Continuous Improvement Program. This has given the sport best in class, nationally consistent Member protection, Child safeguarding policies and complaints procedures. 

  • Risk framework is now in place. 

  • A successful Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, highlighted by two medals, overseen by the EA High Performance team. 

  • Commencement of process of establishment of an Athlete Commission. 

  • EA has registered to undertake a Reconciliation Plan. 

  • Commenced the all-of-sport strategy and structure process with a very positive Strategy Forum attended by EA Board members, State and National Discipline Committee Chairs, and key staff from national and state level.We will share more details and outcomes of this with you in the new year, and you can look out for your member survey to contribute to the direction of the sport. 

It’s an exciting time for equestrian and there is much to look forward to in 2022. Thank you for your continued support and involvement. 

Enjoy this time with your family and friends, and we look forward to welcoming you back in the new year. 

Stay safe and well, 

Darren Gocher 
Equestrian Australia 

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