Motorsport Australia renews safety focus with new role

Motorsport Australia has reconstituted the Motorsport Risk and Safety Committee

Motorsport Australia is set to appoint a new motorsport safety and risk manager to drive the sport going forward.

Set to report to the Motorsport Risk and Safety Committee, which consists of a range of leading figures in the sport, the leadership role will help Motorsport Australia manage the risks inherent with the industry.

The Motorsport Risk and Safety Committee will play a key role in supporting that position, with prominent figures set to play their part.

Among them is Roland Dane, who Motorsport Australia president Andrew Fraser said is keen to give back after stepping down from his role with Triple Eight.

“It’s going to be chaired by Ian Gillespie, former CEO of RACQ and someone who used to be on the Motorsport Australia board, who’s accepted my request to come back and give his time to lead the committee,” Fraser said of the committee.

“He’s got first class governance skills.

“Roland, through his success and involvement in motorsport, needs no further explanation by me.

“In talking with Roland over recent months, he wanted to make a contribution back to the sport, and I’m really grateful for Roland to agree to give some time into this.

“Coral Taylor has her own Wikipedia page so I don’t need to say any more about that, but what people don’t also appreciate [is that she’s] also a very experienced board member from the NRMA and also the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in the past.

“Kristen Bailey, who’s the elected director of Motorsport Australia in South Australia – very connected to the grassroots.

“[She’s] Also a member of AIMSS [Australian Institute for Motor Sport Safety] with Garry Connelly, who’s obviously also going to be on the board.”

The final make-up will also include Adam Berryman, who has served on the Historic Motorsport Commission and who has a background in risk management, along with Melanie Gordon, who is a risk manager at Transurban.

It will be the role of the motorsport safety and risk manager to work with the committee.

“This person will have a big job and a leadership role, but they’ll have next to them, and be reporting to and servicing, an impressive group of people whose credentials in risk and in motorsport, I think, are first class,” Fraser explained.

“What we’re really looking for is someone who has professional skills about what it means to enforce an appropriate risk and safety framework in motorsport,” he added.

“That means the person has got a have an affinity with motorsport, to understand that at its essence, motorsport is about risk taking, and the job in motorsport is to make sure that the risk settings are appropriate and well managed – not that you’ll ever remove risk totally.

“That’s not the outcome, the outcome here is how do we do as best as we can, so that that person with that background is the ideal candidate.

“So maybe there’s a person out there who’s always wanted to make the change to work in motorsport, has been in and around, maybe competing, loved it, but hasn’t had the chance to work inside.

“It would be ideal to get in the field.”

The key, as Fraser sees it, it ensuring the level of risk adopted is appropriate in a sport that is perpetually developing.

“It’s about having what I would call managed risk,” he explained.

“A part of why we all love motorsport is the fact that there is risk involved. That’s part of the bearing, it’s part of the thrill of motorsport and what our job is, is to not to not take away the essence of motorsport, but to make sure that we apply the best of technology, the best of thinking, and the best insight into managing that risk.

“Motorsport today, compared to motorsport 30 or 40 years ago, is a totally different proposition, and this is a journey that never ends.

“What we want to do is make sure we get the settings right so that we have motorsport which can be enjoyed by everyone, and all the bits that we all love are still there, but that we take advantage to make sure we’ve got the best rules, the best technology and rules that are fit for purpose.

“This is the first obligation for any sport, and a for a sport like ours is to make sure people are as  safe as possible.

“So this person will play a big role in ensuring that’s the case for the sport at all levels.

“It’s a great opportunity, and they’ll get to work with a really impressive group of people.”

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