Motorsport Australia will close its state offices and streamline its Commissions following recommendations of its Recovery Taskforce which have now been endorsed by its board.
In a restructure which will take place over coming months, around 10 to 15 staff members will lose their jobs and the number of Commissions will be reduced.
There will, however, be a greater investment in information technology in order to automate functions and reduce manual handling.
In expanding on the developments to selected media, including Speedcafe.com, Arocca said that the COVID-19 pandemic had played a significant part in bringing about the changes but that they would also bolster it for the future.
“It’s not easy when you’re having to let people go as part of a restructure so, I guess, personally that’s been the most difficult part of the journey over the last 76 hours,” he noted.
“But I’ve said this a number of times; Winston Churchill once famously said, ‘Never waste a good crisis,’ and you’ll know that we set up a Recovery Taskforce.
“That was really illuminating for some of the recommendations that were made, that have been wholeheartedly accepted by the board.
“I guess it goes without saying that we’re not the only sporting body, company, business, organisation, entity that is doing it tough and needing to make changes to not only adjust to what our current situation is but also to be better equipped for the future with whatever that may throw us.”
Of the 10 to 15 people representing around 25 percent of Motorsport Australia’s total staff, with a final redundancy figure to be determined once redeployment options are worked through, a significant proportion will come from the 12 currently employed in state offices.
There will also be savings realised by no longer renting or even owning four of the six state offices which are presently Motorsport Australia’s own facilities as opposed to functioning from with state sporting bodies’ facilities.
According to Arocca, members have already responded well to remote meetings, reducing the need for physical presences outside of the body’s Melbourne head office.
“Our aim would be to close down the standalone offices where essentially one or two people have been sitting in a space that has been used for meetings but that are no longer required,” he explained.
“We believe we can continue to service our states without having to have a hard, standalone public face.
“Our state councils have said that Zoom has been a revelation, that more clubs and more delegates have been able to get to the meetings because they don’t have to drive 300km to get to a state office, and they have actually embraced the new technology.
“We’re talking about the physical offices as opposed to employees in those states, but what I can tell you is that we’re not going to have 12 people. Six of those were doing basic admin tasks, so we’re going to bring a lot of the admin in-house to the national office.
“One of the subtexts of the changes of the restructure is that we’re actually going to invest more in IT.
“We certainly believe the next six months are going to see some exciting new technological opportunities for our members, but the flipside of it is that we’re going to reduce a lot of the manual handling processes that have been weighing us down.”
Many of the changes are said to have been in the works for some time, but have been hastened by the impact of the pandemic.
“We actually had our Strategic Plan put in place,” noted Arocca.
“Part of that plan was to rationalise and improve on our structure. Motorsport Australia, previously CAMS, is sort of a product of many, many years of ‘bolt-ons’; if someone thought it was a good idea at a certain point in time, we would just do it.
“What we’ve created is some 75 different bodies or entities within our structure, with over 500 volunteers, who have a say in our governance.
“That is an extraordinary number – you wouldn’t get that in the IOC (International Olympic Committee) – and we had made a decision last year to start to review the over-governance of the organisation from external parties, so we had it in our minds to do it over the next year or two.
“What the crisis has done is allowed us to bring forward a lot of our planning. With the IT, we certainly planned on bringing in digital cards, less interaction with paperwork, over the next two years; well, we’re going to accelerate that.
“We’ve already introduced a new event entry system, which has been outstandingly received, so we had planned changes but we’ve been prompted by what’s happened to move quicker because of the cost of administering what could be seen as a cumbersome, historic structure was becoming significant.”
The changes are set to be introduced in the next three to six months.
See below for the full letter from Eugene Arocca
A letter from Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca
To our dedicated motorsport community,
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to share some initial plans intended to streamline Motorsport Australia’s operations. This includes the acceleration of our planned IT improvements, as well as simplifying our licence and permit structures for officials, competitors and event organisers.
In early March we set up a dedicated Motorsport Australia Recovery Taskforce which included key external members and partners from all levels of the sport, from grassroots to Supercars. Together with Motorsport Australia staff, this Taskforce made a number of recommendations aimed at reducing the barriers to participation and making things easier for everyone to be involved in the sport, especially those looking to get their start in motorsport, which is crucial to the sport’s growth and sustainability.
These recommendations, aimed at simplifying our processes for members and growing our sport, were recently endorsed by the Motorsport Australia Board. In the wake of COVID-19, Motorsport Australia, like many sporting organisations, is now operating in what is the ‘new normal’. In the coming weeks and months, we will be in close contact to explain how these changes will benefit you, your club and everyone involved in the sport. Put simply, these changes will allow the sport to be easier to administer, utilising the latest technology as we continue to Return To Race. This technology will also allow us to meet ongoing COVID-19 restrictions as we make the most of contactless technology, including a new membership app.
I can also advise you that Motorsport Australia is moving to centralise its administration operations at its Melbourne head office to reduce unnecessary costs and further improve our services to members. As such, our non-Victorian offices will now be permanently closed to the public. However, I can assure you that Motorsport Australia will continue to have a presence in each state and territory, with highly skilled staff dedicated to growing the sport and working with government and our affiliated clubs to increase participation at all levels.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many sporting bodies hard and motorsport is not immune. Unfortunately, as a result of these necessary changes, a small number of positions will be made redundant. These decisions have been extremely difficult, however those individuals, whose roles are unfortunately redundant, will be well supported and also provided with professional assistance as they transition to new employment.
Another Taskforce recommendation being adopted and implemented is a restructure and streamlining of our Commissions from 2021. These changes are aimed at reducing the administrative requirements of the Commissions whilst continuing to represent all disciplines of our sport in a more efficient manner. This streamlined, more effective structure will reduce the number of Commissions but will continue to promote ongoing consultation with the experts in their respective fields. More details about this new structure will be shared with you shortly.
Motorsport Australia continues to work hard behind the scenes to do everything possible to allow racing to resume. Where restrictions do not allow this, we are working closely with our members and clubs to ensure that when the time comes, they can return to action without delay. The highly publicised and successful Return To Race strategy will continue to be utilised and remain in place to allow the sport every chance to run safely and efficiently during this ongoing pandemic.
Please keep an eye on our website and look out for further email communications from us in the coming weeks and months. We will keep you regularly updated to ensure you receive any information about these planned changes and their impact on you.
On behalf of everyone at Motorsport Australia, thank you for your ongoing and loyal support. We look forward to sharing our next chapter with you, as we transition to more streamlined administration processes that will benefit everyone in our sport.
Motorsport Australia CEO