On Saturday the Members of Mountain Biking Australia have the opportunity to decide on whether their organisation and sport should advance its status, reputation, delivery and operation by becoming a Company Limited by Guarantee.

This is the most positive step that MTBA can take. It moves us properly to a National Organisation and offers the opportunity for hugely increased support at federal and state levels for mountain biking. The positive effects of this will flow on to you all. Can I 100% guarantee that funding? Of course I can’t, because the availability of funding is always subject to considerations at the time from those providing it. We have seen just in the last two weeks how MTBA’s current structure and position leaves it vulnerable - when our EDP funding was arbitrarily cut by over 80% by Cycling Australia. We have also seen how our excellent working relationship with the Australian Sports Commission enabled us to turn that around. We do not wish to throw those relationships away.

We have worked closely with the Australian Sports Commission in developing the proposed new structure and constitution for Mountain Bike Australia Ltd. It complies with their governance principles, represents the best of governance for sport, and contains many protections for both our sport and our members. Above all, it actually increases your say as members in the proportion of elected Directors you will have.

Yet its adoption is being attacked by various interest groups and I have seen recommendations from some of these that violate the MTBA constitution and the Act under which MTBA operates. They also go against what the Sports Commission wish to achieve in terms of an orderly and structured transition. Some of the proposed protections for you are being misrepresented to you as the opposite.

MTBA have acted in compliance with our Constitution and the ACT Incorporated Associations Act in bringing this to you. The law behind the nature of this change makes it difficult for many of you to be involved due to the voting restrictions it places on you, but that would apply no matter where we held the AGM. The new constitution changes that to your benefit. You were first informed of MTBA’s intentions in the 2015 Annual Report and in MTBA Newsletters in the period since that time. I encourage you to read the proposal for yourself, not accept what an interest group has to say about it.

You are mountain bikers, you are smart, make up your own mind. If you need more facts, ask me.

I urge you to support this important change and not be affected by the minority who, for their own reasons, have plans to vote this change down while at the same time agreeing that a Company Limited by Guarantee is the best way to go.

The meeting details and how you can assign a proxy vote are available on the MTBA website at the bottom of this page: https://www.mtba.org.au/about/2016-annual- general-meeting/

If you wish to vote by proxy, you need to follow the instructions on the proxy form and also notify secretary@mtba.asn.au before 1100 AEST on Friday 16 December.

Russ Baker AM