As you may be aware, Paddle Australia, Australia’s National Sporting Organisation responsible for the promotion, support and management of canoeing, kayaking and other paddle sports, has officially launched its new corporate name and brand.
Paddle Australia, formerly Australian Canoeing, is embarking on a new strategic journey. Our re-branding signifies a fresh positioning of the organisation as it continues to manage and develop the sport but also places a greater focus on promoting and encouraging recreational paddling in all its forms.
Over 300,000 active paddlers already enjoy the fitness, health, well-being and other benefits of paddling on our pristine Australian waterways. As demand changes and more people look to spend their recreational time in their own way, more are discovering the positive outcomes that paddling offers. The key role for Paddle Australia is to lead, connect and grow the paddling community into the future. Our media release with more details on this change is available at this link.
Recently, through a consultation process involving our state associations, clubs and others, we have been developing a new Strategic Vision and Plan for paddling in Australia. If we are to maximise the opportunities that will arise as paddling continues to grow, there needs to be a strong, unified and coordinated approach.
Paddle Australia seeks to ensure that we have arrangements in place for all stakeholders to contribute to our plans and activities. Our strategic planning process has highlighted several priorities and, in addressing these, it is clear that Paddle Australia needs to better engage and work more closely not only with our clubs and state organisations but with the paddle industry as a whole, including commercial operators, education and outdoor providers, retailers, manufacturers, event organisers and others.
Over recent months, we have been considering the most appropriate way of achieving this. There are some principles that we consider important in putting the right structure in place.
Any engagement must be open and transparent. Whilst it is recognised that not everyone will wish to contribute, there must an opportunity for all stakeholders to be involved. Communication should extend to all interested parties.
There should be industry-wide involvement. Whilst some issues appear to impact only one particular sector of the industry, the consequences will invariably have a secondary impact on others. As an example, the recent attempt to introduce a levy on commercial operators would have had an immediate impact on those hiring vessels but would also have had implications for various parts of the sector.
Any structure should be representative of the group as a whole. Obviously, not everyone can be involved in every conversation. We need a group or groups that are genuinely representative and that enjoy the support of those within the industry. They can then provide input on a range of issues that impact, or have the potential to impact, the sport and recreation of paddling and the industry in particular.
Self-determination by the industry is essential. Paddle Australia seeks to work with industry to the betterment of the sport and recreation of paddling in Australia. However, PA recognises that this group must be in a position to put the interests of its members first. To this extent, the group must determine its own agenda and direction.
The initial steps in putting an appropriate structure in place need not be complicated. There is no immediate need for a formal structure, nor for any costs to be incurred. This message is going out as widely as possible, directly where we have contact details but also through social media. Those interested are encouraged to provide their contact details and other information as outlined below.
Once we have your feedback, we will assess whether there is interest in Paddle Australia being involved in the setting up of an industry-wide group. If so, we will call for nominations to a ‘steering committee’. Through this process, even if there is no interest in setting up a ‘steering committee’ Paddle Australia will have a more comprehensive database which will use to communicate regularly with industry.
Over time, it may be that industry agrees that a separate, formal structure should be put in place. Equally, it may be considered preferable to operate under the auspices of Paddle Australia. Certainly, the community input to our plans to date indicates a strong desire to act as one. I am sure we can all see the benefits of this.
You will be aware already of some of the activities of Paddle Australia and our member association, Paddle NSW. Whilst our new Strategic Plan is not yet finalised, our initial consultation draft and strategic plan presentation made at our National Strategic Workshop, held in April, are attached at these links. These are draft documents but should provide a good insight as to our future direction.
In summary, Paddle Australia is keen to support and facilitate any initiative that allows us to work with a representative, industry-wide group. What we need to hear from you is:
- Do you support Paddle Australia facilitating an industry-wide group?
- If so, do you wish to be kept informed as we progress?
- Your name, company name, email and other contact details and nature of the business that you operate?
Please provide your feedback by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you and to working with you in developing the sport and recreation of paddling in Australia.
Chief Executive Officer