The Holstein Australia Board is seeking member input into the draft Terms of Reference for a Member Advisory Committee.
The proposed Committee is intended to provide a member based focal point to consider and recommend policies and systems to effectively engage with the membership. Among its key tasks will be to ensure member feedback is appropriately addressed, provide a representative forum for members to contribute to Holstein Australia programs and activities and increase membership value.
If adopted by members, the Committee will be made up of 9 member elected representatives, one from each *Holstein Australia region, plus up to two non-executive directors and, by agreement of the Committee, an external party with specialist skills as required.
In 2022 members voted on several Special Resolutions at the Annual General Meeting following a consultation period. Feedback following the AGM was that members would have preferred a longer period to consider the Special Resolutions and that, where practical, a separate meeting would be the preferred forum for similar discussions and votes in the future.
This feedback has been taken on board.
There will be a 2-month (9 week) consultation period prior to a Special General Meeting held at the Holstein Australia office and online on Wednesday 12th July 2023. The formal Notice of Meeting and agenda will be sent to all members first week of June.
Make your opinion count
Three online member information and Q&A sessions with Board members and management have been arranged. Click on the links below to register for your preferred session.
HA management and Board members will also be in Echuca, Victoria on Tuesday 13th June for a joint Northern Victorian Sub-branch meeting and at the Victorian Winter Fair, Bendigo from 27th – 29th June. Member updates will be provided in advance of both events.
How have the draft Member Advisory Committee Terms of reference been developed?
Following last year’s Holstein Australia AGM, the Board and Strategic Directions Committee (SDC) met to discuss member feedback to the Special Resolutions proposed at the 2022 AGM. Having considered this feedback, the draft Member Advisory Committee Terms of Reference were developed in line with the needs identified by members. Management, the Company Secretary and Damien Smith from Enterprise Care assisted with this process.
Upon completion the draft Terms of Reference were circulated to all SDC members for comment and feedback, with this process being completed in early May 2023. The Terms of Reference were then circulated to the Breed Development and Conformation Committee (BDCC) prior to the start of the member consultation process.
Why are the proposed Terms of Reference being circulated in draft format?
This provides the full membership with the opportunity to consider the proposed Member Advisory Committee remit and structure. It also provides the HA Board, SDC and management with the opportunity to consider and amend the draft Terms of Reference where necessary before a member vote at the Special General Meeting on 12th July.
Is the proposed Member Advisory Committee a direct replacement for the SDC?
The Member Advisory Committee will be a focused and resourced committee with a remit of ensuring the highest levels of engagement between the Association and members. The Strategic Directions Committee was put in place to provide advice and recommendations to the Board on strategy and policy development.
Update – Member Advisory Committee meeting report - 29th May 2023
The draft Member Advisory Committee proposal before members states that ‘the Committee will be made up of 9 member elected representatives, one from each Holstein Australia region, plus up to two non-executive directors and, by agreement of the Committee, an external party with specialist skills as required’.
In response to a member question, it was confirmed that the 9 Holstein Australia regions are NSW-Northern, NSW-Southern, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, VIC-Western, VIC-Northern, VIC-Gippsland and Western Australia.
In response to member questions on nominations for the Committee from individual Sub-branches it was clarified that with the draft as it currently stands:
Where one Sub-branch represented a whole region - for example Western Districts, Tasmania, Western Australia, etc - each Sub-branch would be able nominate an individual or individuals for the Member Advisory Committee. Where more than one nomination was received by the Sub-branch, an election would be required to determine the candidate to be put forward.
Where a region is made up of multiple Sub-branches - for example Gippsland, Northern Victoria, NSW-Southern, NSW Northern etc - each of the Sub-branches in these regions would need to work together to nominate one representative for the region. Where more than one nomination was received, an election at regional level would be required to determine the candidate to be put forward.
Additional questions and key points raised by members resulted from this discussion as follows:
Each Sub-branch should be able to nominate a Member Advisory Committee member rather than each Sub-branch / region potentially holding an election.
The key requirement is to attract people who actively want to participate (on the Member Advisory Committee) with nomination rather than an election process at Sub-branch and regional level potentially facilitating this.
In response to these two points, the Holstein Australia CEO advised that a suggestion had been put forward to the Board and management from more than one member prior to the information session that existing Sub-branch Presidents - who have already been through a member election process at local level – or their nominees could form the Member Advisory Committee membership.
An alternative opinion put forward was that, for example, should 5 nominations be received from one region, all 5 people who nominated should be encouraged to participate or be included on the Committee. This was set against the scenario of less member participation in committees now being the norm, with general discussion around possible reasons for this.
The opinion was also put forward that HA should continue as it is i.e., not put a new committee in place.
In response to the above Holstein Australia director, Gino Pacitti, posed the question “if the draft Member Advisory Committee had stated that nominations could come from any member and were not region based what would have been people’s reaction? If anyone can nominate what would happen if you had 9 people (i.e., the entire committee) from one region? Wouldn’t it be skewed if there was representation from only one area? Or would members be happy with that scenario?”
Opinion was divided in response to the above. On the one hand – and what appeared to be the majority opinion – it was felt what was needed above all else was to attract people who were interested in the role. Committee members, it was felt, would be there to represent and serve all members to the best of their ability, irrespective of where they are from.
The counter to this was that if all Member Advisory Committee members were from one region, for example NSW-Southern, would this be acceptable to the national membership?
A strong opinion was put forward that this scenario would not be acceptable to the membership, with the preference being for each region to have representation.
The suggestion was also put forward that Member Advisory Committee members should be state based rather than regional.
There was no resolution either way with the take outs being on the one hand it could result in greater participation, on the other that it could be the wrong road to go down, with the potential to alienate a proportion of the wider membership.
Other questions, to be further discussed at forthcoming information sessions, were:
If HA does not receive enough Member Advisory Committee nominations, what happens?
Is an option not to have a Committee? Is there a plan B?
Is the remit of the proposed Member Advisory Committee too broad? More targeted / single purpose committees (such as the BDCC) have received strong buy-in in the past and tend to attract a full roster of members.
Make your opinion count
Two further member information sessions with Board members and management have been arranged. Click on the links below to register for your preferred session.