Australian Rugby Union has ushered in historic Constitutional changes at a General Meeting in Sydney today.
Members voted to adopt a new Governance model following recommendations from the Strengthening the Governance of Australian Rugby (the Arbib Review), which was released in October this year.
Following an 8 month process, Members gathered at ARU Headquarters in St Leonards to vote on the recommended structure.
The proposal secured the required 75 per cent support and will lead to Australian Rugby establishing an independent corporate governance structure.
The Constitutional changes take on board the recommendations from the Arbib Review and will see the creation of an Independent Board of Directors and changes to the Membership of ARU to better reflect the Rugby Union community across Australia, both amateur and professional.
Adoption of the new Constitutional changes rebalances the voting entitlements of Members and will assist in promoting a Governance structure, working independently in the best interests of Rugby Union across Australia.
The new structure will result in an increase in voting numbers from 14 to 16, with States, Territories, Super Rugby bodies and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) to receive the following allocations:
NSW 3 (1 for Member Union Status, 1 for Super Rugby Team and 1 for more than 50,000 participants)
QUEENSLAND 3 (1 for Member Union Status, 1 for Super Rugby Team and 1 for more than 50,000 participants)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2 (1 for Member Union Status and 1 for Super Rugby Team)
VICTORIA 2 (1 for Member Union Status and 1 for Super Rugby Team)
ACT & SOUTHERN NSW 2 (1 for Member Union Status and 1 for Super Rugby Team)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1 (1 for Member Union Status)
NOTHERN TERRITORY 1 (1 for Member Union Status)
TASMANIA 1 (1 for Member Union Status)
RUGBY UNION PLAYERS ASSOCIATION (RUPA) 1
Previously the voting structure made no allowance for Super Rugby bodies or RUPA with the 14 votes split along the following lines:
NSW Rugby Union 5
Queensland Rugby Union 3
Other State and Territory Member Unions 1 each
Under the new Constitution each State and Territory has the opportunity to secure an additional vote should they – like NSW and Queensland – surpass 50,000 registered players in their region.
ARU President, Ron Graham and ARU Chairman, Michael Hawker AM, thanked members for their support and contributions to the debate.
“Today marks an historic occasion for Australian Rugby, an occasion that would not have been possible without the combined efforts and commitment of all our Members to work together,” Mr Graham said.
“Over the past number of weeks we have undertaken a process of consultation. We have listened to our members and worked with them to get to where we are today.
“I am proud that the decision has been made to take the game to the next level and officially move to having an independent corporate governance structure.”
The new Constitution takes effect immediately.
Over the coming months a four-member independent nominations committee will be established to recommend independent directors for election to the ARU Board.
Existing directors will serve out their terms. However, they will have the right to be considered for nomination as an independent candidate for re-election, by the newly elected Nominations Committee.