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Posted by Christine Armishaw on 28/09/2021.
Our silver medal winning Eventing team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Image Courtesy AET/Libby Law Photography

Progress Report from EA Chair Mark Bradley

Equestrian Australia is very pleased to be able to reflect on the great progress that has been made by the EA team over recent months under the leadership of our CEO, Darren Gocher, and our Board, in a number of essential foundation areas which required urgent attention upon exiting voluntary administration in February this year. 

Our focus has been across Board and committee governance; safety and risk management; integrity; financial stability and control, including the reinstatement and continuity of essential funding; and the continuity of EA’s standing and relationships with Sport Australia, Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), the FEI, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

Alongside these important organisational factors, we’ve been able to celebrate some sensational achievements by members of the Australian Equestrian Team on the international stage over recent months, most notably at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Looking ahead, we will be working with EA’s High Performance Panel and the AIS to review our performance in Tokyo, with a view to capturing any learnings that will stand us in good stead as we prepare for the FEI World Championships in Denmark and Italy in less than 12 months; and then the Paris Olympics and Paralympics in 2024 and beyond.

Recently we shared an update on the journey of EA to improve the health and safety processes, culture, and outcomes across all aspects of our sport. This has included establishing the EA National Health & Safety Committee, as well as adding additional staff resources and securing funding for the next two years to support the role of the EA National Safety Manager, critical in our mission to continue to improve safety within our beloved sport.

Our next big step forward is our review of the EA strategy and the development of our plan for reform. Servicing our members is our overall goal and we plan on carrying out this important work efficiently, yet thoroughly.

The review and reform process will involve extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders; gathering feedback from members, Affiliated State bodies and National Discipline Committees, to capture their invaluable knowledge, insights and ideas; collaboration through the EA Strategic Forum; evaluation and developing new strategies and transformation plans; and implementation. 

Equestrian is to become one of the first sports in Australia to opt-in to the Federal Government’s Sport Integrity Framework, which will see us become an industry leader in delivering best-practice policies, including new Member Protection and Child Safeguarding policies. 

This will be a once-in-a-generation reform of the way EA manages complaints and disputes right across our sport, enabling us to replace the antiquated and inconsistent rules, regulations and by-laws across our disciplines. A simple, accessible and consistent policy framework, including access to an efficient, independent external dispute resolution process will enable us to better serve our members.

We have recently brought on a Participation Manager to continue forth with ensuring our sport is meeting the needs of members right from our core grassroots members and up. We are working towards establishing the EA Athlete’s Commission, which will give all our athletes, from grassroots to high-performance, a greater say in the direction of equestrian sport over coming years, as well as creating the EA Reconciliation Action Plan to recognise and respect the role of our first nations people and promote pathways for participation by indigenous equestrians.

While the future of EA is bright, we recognise the time, dedication and commitment it will take to undergo these much-needed developments. However, the paving of the road ahead is well underway and a better EA for all is firmly in our sights.

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