MOTORCYCLING NSW LTD. GENERAL MEETING, BLACKTOWN WORKERS CLUB, 24 October, 2019 _________________________________________________________________________________________
The meeting opened at 7.44pm, with the President, Gavin Hunt in the chair. Also present were Directors Tim Sanford, Christine Tickner, Dave Charnings, CEO Dave Cooke, and Amy Knop taking the minutes
The minutes of the last General Meeting and a Board Meeting on 5 September were read and adopted.
A delegate questioned the reference to a group known as "AMA" said to be interested in using the MA subsidiary MAIL for insurance coverage of their motorcycle events.
The CEO informed the meeting that the AMA group is not the American Motorcycle Association, but a company from Queensland known as the Australian Motorcyclist Association Inc. and appears to be an internet based Club, promoting touring, training days, charity rides etc. This group is not affiliated to MQ or MA and is not recognised by the Queensland Government.
Dave added that MAIL has enough problems insuring events run by affiliated clubs, without taking on an unknown promotor running possibly unregulated events. MNSW has opposed the application.
A delegate asked for current details on the Nowra Motoplex. The CEO stated that the MX and Enduro venue is presently being operated by a private promotor, is open 5 days a week, with regular club days and open meetings. The circuit is being maintained in excellent condition, and all insurance is up to date. MNSW does not receive any payment for the use of the venue, although, Dave added, that perhaps next year this could be reviewed. It appears there are some recent signs that Nowra Motorcycle Club is interested in resuming control of the area.
BOARD MEETING MINUTES
HORSLEY PARK REPLACEMENT
The President was asked if there was any progress on a replacement site for the Ian Packer Mini Bike centre at Horsley Park. He replied that MNSW was still negotiating with the Office of Sport and NSW Parklands, however the lease on the current property has been extended indefinitely until an alternate site is offered, possibly in the Eastern Creek area. (It was suggested some time ago, that if MNSW was allocated sufficient space, they could relocate the office there).
There has recently been a shock announcement that the Parramatta (car) Speedway at Granville will be resumed as a marshalling area for a proposed new Western Sydney metro train line. To ease public outrage the government has hastily announced that a new speedway will be built to replace it, also in the Eastern Creek area.
FORMER DIRECTOR FINED
At a Disciplinary hearing by the Board, former director of MNSW, Michael Constantinou has been fined $1,500.00 plus $100.00 per excess child for exceeding the permitted number of riders at a coaching school his Race Pace business conducted.
(The board has recently taken over some of the responsibilities of the former Arbitration & Disciplinary Committee). Readers may remember that Michael was removed from his position at a stormy general meeting last February, but details of these charges were not revealed at the time. There was no mention of an appeal.
In another hearing several licence holders were banned from attending any MNSW sanctioned event for any reason; one for two years, the other for twelve months, with nine months suspended. The charges were not listed.
MA ALLIANCE PRESS RELEASE
The President was questioned on a press release issued by MA after an MA Alliance Meeting, and the MNSW email response. (Readers may recall that I sent out a special newsletter with the press release and the MNSW response last month).
Gavin stated that he was shocked when he read the MA press release and immediately contacted delegates from other LCBs. They were equally appalled by the document, which contained straight-out inaccuracies, and listed some future aims as actual achievements. He immediately contacted the MA Alliance Secretary and demanded an explanation and an immediate retraction.
MA refused to reveal who wrote the release or who authorised it, and refused to send out a retraction, claiming that a retraction would only attract more attention to the original release.
The move to a Centralised National Licencing System has been under way for years, but there is no agreement on a complete changeover or a time frame.
The claim that Permitting and Fee Structures will be standardised has not been agreed to and will not be introduced over the next 18 months as claimed. Some states receive subsidies or grants from their respective governments that subsidise overheads such as insurance and permit fees. These states would certainly not agree to "standardised fees".
The suggestion of LCBs sharing facilities and staff skills sounds great, but will take considerable time to identify the "areas of duplication in administration" which are a problem, and which LCB can assist. As Dave Cooke said, "If MNSW hired one more Licencing Officer we could handle all licences for the country; we already handle 30%" now.
It will be interesting to read the minutes of the Alliance Meeting when they are released, but I am concerned that this "error of judgement" has further reinforced doubts about the "Co-operative Spirit" of the Alliance Management.
A delegate asked the President if MNSW had recently appointed a representative to carry out safety audits on circuits during race meetings. The delegate referred to a recent MX meeting conducted on the North Coast.
At that meeting the Steward was able to explain the qualifications, responsibilities and duties of various officials and procedures for the conduct of the meeting.
The President replied that it was not a Safety Audit, but the start of a future program to identify and remove or minimise possible hazards at all race meetings, in an effort to reduce accidents and public risk claims against clubs, and eventually, MA's insurance arm, MAIL.
The Consultant is a recently retired expert in the field of Occupational Health and Safety. Her report and others will be used to develop new protocols for the inspection of race venues.
In my experience as an ex-venue inspector, inspections have concentrated on the circuits, with little, if any concern for the spectator side of the fence. With the advent of no-win, no-charge insurance claims, there has been an increase in claims by spectators. Even defending a claim which is eventually disallowed can cost MAIL $200,000. Eventually, this has to be paid from the rider's entry fees, permit fees, and levies.
And the promoting club has to contribute the excess for the claim. So it is in all of our interests to maintain public areas risk-free.
MNSW PROPERTIES SAGA
A delegate asked for more details of the problem delaying the winding up of MNSW Properties Ltd, and the transfer of its assets to MNSW.
The CEO, Dave Cooke stated that during the process of winding up the Properties Company, he learnt that somehow, the Goanna Tracks property had been registered as being owned by MNSW Properties, even though the court judgement was in favour of MNSW.
(Goanna Tracks is a 1600 acre MX and Enduro complex at Bulgaldie, near Coonabarabran. MNSW loaned the then owner-operator $100,000.00 for track improvements, but he eventually defaulted on the repayments, and in 2014 MNSW went to court to recover the debt plus interest. The court granted ownership of the property to MNSW, with all plant and equipment, but not the business).
If this registration error claim is correct it may have occurred in the Lands Department or, more likely, by the solicitors who handled the court case and subsequently, the conveyance of the title.
Who signed the transfer documents on behalf of MNSW is currently unknown.
So perhaps we are now faced with a few problems; D-I-Y Bush Lawyers can now consider these questions:
Does registering the property to an incorrect company negate the court decision, as MNSW Properties was not a party to the hearing?
Which company paid the conveyancing costs and stamp duty in 2014, and who pays the new transfer fees now?
After the court-ordered ownership transfer, the former owner was permitted to continue operating the venue on short-term, no- charge leases before he was eventually evicted. Was the lease and eviction carried out by MNSW or MNSW Properties, the actual owners?
Have the Annual Financial Reports of both companies been incorrect since 2014?. MNSW showed the property as an asset valued at around $200,000, but should not have. MNSW Properties did not show the property as an asset, but should have.
Were the Auditors of both companies aware of this anomaly?
Has MNSW spent money upgrading a circuit which they didn't own?
Which company has been paying council rates or other outgoings on the property?
Which company holds the Public Risk Insurance policy?. (I hope there are no outstanding claims!)
Which company holds the Track Licence/
Has MNSW been issuing competition permits for events with the incorrect land owner listed?
If the property is owned by Properties, is the current lease granted by MNSW to Coonabarabran MX and Enduro Club legal? The club has received an equipment grant of $14,000 and has a current circuit improvement loan of $5,000.00 from MNSW.
This venue has been widely acclaimed as an excellent facility and a great benefit to the sport. Despite the severe drought it is still being used regularly. I certainly hope that these matters can be sorted out between the company boards, with a minimum of expense and legal involvement. After all, regardless of which company paid what, it's all the club members money!
Regards ..........Dave E