Yachting Australia and its eight State and Territory Member Yachting Associations (State Associations), have agreed to work co-operatively to establish a blueprint for the future management and governance of sailing and boating in Australia.

Yachting Australia President, Matt Allen and the eight State Association Presidents have confirmed their commitment to the process, signing a Letter of Intent during the Yachting Australia Federal Assembly on Saturday 17 May 2014.

“This is a very significant step for our sport and it follows a period of open and constructive dialogue about the way ahead,” said Matt Allen. “I think everyone recognises the need for change. This agreement will see the State Associations and Yachting Australia all working co-operatively, constructively and in good faith with one another to develop a plan that is in the best long-term interests of the sport.”

“The prospects for our sport in the 21st century, whether in the areas of recreational boating, club and class racing or high performance sailing, will all be greatly enhanced if we have in place best practice governance and management arrangements. We are in a competitive environment and we need to ensure that the sport is best placed to capitalise on opportunities as they present themselves.”

Recognising the geographic and demographic spread and the diversity of pursuits of constituents will be challenging. “The first stage will be to outline the national and state requirements, looking at what efficiencies can be achieved whilst taking into account the nuances of the different organisations and the issues unique to each. A sustainable plan, with a full risk and cost/benefit analysis, will then be formulated for consideration.”

The need to streamline some of the administrative arrangements is already recognised, with changes in this area expected to be addressed first. “It makes sense for some of the processes that are being duplicated around the country to be undertaken just once, albeit not necessarily from the Yachting Australia offices in Sydney. Greater efficiency will allow a renewed focus on the delivery of programmes and services, with the appropriate resources being focussed in the right place”.

The overall objective of the State Associations is to ensure that the interests of their member clubs continue to be represented whilst improving the programs and services on offer. “The principle of national strategy, local delivery underpins our thinking. There is no agreement to dismantle the existing federated structure or to centralise all operations,” explained Yachting New South Wales President Richard Hudson.

The end of 2014 will see greater functional alignment between State Associations and Yachting Australia, with Yachting Australia having adopted a new Constitution and converting from its current structure as an Incorporated Association to a Company Limited by Guarantee.

“Whilst the agreement reached between Yachting Australia and the State Associations this week is a very significant and exciting step in the evolution of our sport,” Matt Allen said, “there is much work to be done and detail still to be agreed. We look forward to moving forward together.”