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[VIC] VMAC - The Secret Society...

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by mjt57, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25864373-2862,00.html

    Looks like Damian Codognotto is stirring the pot, yet again.

    His quotes in the article appear to be lifted directly from the melb-moto mailing list (Yahoo).

    He claims that the TAC Levy directly funds the group. A tad misleading. VMAC has an input as to how the funds are spent.
  2. Yes, Damien Codognotto is behind all this and is pushing his agenda via the opposition I think.

    He seems to ignore the VMAC Chairman's Communique's which IMHO would meet and exceed the criteria.

    Also, whenever money is spent - the Minister usually issues a public announcement.

    I'll leave it to Tony to fill the gap from here...
  3. hehehe Good for a laugh.

    I suppose next there will be a protest ride on eastlink about the Safety levy and WRB and anything else that can be thought up.

    a reminder ::: Click here
  4. The motorcyclist tax (or "safety levy" for those fluent in BS) is now $60.50.

    For those interested, the TAC premiums for 09-10 are in this pdf.
  5. How did you come up with that figure - $60.50? Can you explain it using the data from the table? Not sure how you arrived at that figure.
  6. On page 4 of the pdf, section 3:

    The TAC rate for a motorcycle with engine between 125cc and 500cc is $376.20 in a high-risk zone. For an exempt motorcycle (i.e. for a secondary motorcycle after you have already paid the levy on your primary motorcycle), the rate is $315.70. Therefore, the motorcycle levy must be the difference, i.e. $60.50.

    One arrives at the same result for motorcycles over 500cc. :wink:
  7. As people here will know - there's a communique that comes out (eventually) after every meeting. Copies get sent to all the media (mainstream and motorcycle) - they get posted here and on the MRA website among other places.

    It's a bit rich for the Hun to carry on when they have never ever published them or referred to them.

    My suspicion is that they got wind of the Sunday Age article that will (hopefully) be out tomorrow and did a DC beat-up to pre-empt it.
  8. Regardless of whatever simmering crap there exists between personalities here, the requirement to do an annual report is just that, a requirement.

    Is this newsworthy? Not really but does smack of a lack of professionalism. Is the TAC bike tax crap? Yes it is.
  9. As much as I don't usually agree with what Damien Codognotto has to say, with respect to the TAC motorcycle tax, he is on the right track. The VMAC is a secretive group. The Chairman's communique is a minor start to removing the secrecy but falls a long way short of being open and accountable. It is an aknowledgement from the VMAC and government that we have rights, but provides little information about proposed projects, what adgendas are being pushed or how much funding is provided to projects. It also doesn't tell us what criteria detirmine projects as being suitible for bike tax funding rather than Vic Roads responsibility. Victorain motorcyclists are providing the money so it seems fair to me that we be freely able to see how much money is being collected and exactly where every single cent is spent. So far this has not happened.

    Realisicly, I would like to see meeting minutes posted on the Vicroads or TAC websites but I realise this would never happen. However a complete budget report should be available in addition to the communique. After all, it is our money.

    Where Codognotto veers off the track is by blaming the VMAC for all the problems. The members of VMAC are only responsible for these issues in so much as they fail to refuse to take part unless they can speak openly to the people they are supposed to represent. "Supposed" being an apt choice of words as Tim Pallas has final say on membership and can admit and dismiss members at his will and desire. Thus the members ultimately represent Tim.

    Here in Victoria and we're used to a lack of democracy and a lack of accountability but it doesn't hurt to keep asking for it. What worries me is that VMAC members such as MRA(vic) defend the government's desire for secrecy rather than assist the people they are supposed to represent in campaigning for more accountability. Seriously guys, a protest against the process is not an attack on yourselves. We all know you work tirelessly to help riders but when it comes to accountability for the VMAC and bike tax funds you let yourselves down by not maintaining the pressure on Pallas and Brumby. :)
  10. I just found and read the article.
    Well done. :) It's pleasing to see you guys actually questioning the governments intentions publicly. God job, you did well here. :)
  11. Read the whole article - don't just quote hat covers your own prejudices...!

    Among other things, the proposal calls for greater scrutiny of licence providers, a program to help riders returning after a time away, and more motorcycle research which, it admits, is virtually non-existent in Victoria.

    When asked about the proposal, Victorian Motorcycle Riders Association spokesman Tony Ellis, who contributed to it, said the Government had delayed approving it. ‘‘We were promised that it (the strategy) would be signed off in the first quarter of this year,’’ he said.

    Mr Ellis said more comprehensive testing for novice riders was needed and the proposed strategy would provide a concrete framework for this and other neglected issues.

    ‘‘For the first time it had a broad approach that was going to see an end to motorcycles being marginalised,’’ he said.

    ‘‘Road authorities often try to discourage motorcycling because they see it as dangerous. The fear is this document is being tweaked by government to keep motorcycles out of mainstream transport policy.’’

  12. Tony put up a link to that in another post this morning. But that article looks at least a paragraph longer than this morning. Tony did mention it was not as detailed as he thought, perhaps they updated it? Or was it just because I was up at 6am on a Sunday?

    On the subject of disclosure and to play devils advocate, do we receive any more information about our levy than does any other tax or fee payer?
  13. Read what I quoted. You'll notice that I did quote the bit you put in bold. If you bother to read my comment, you'll noticed I actually praised you for your comments.

    I know you cop a lot of flack here (often from me) so I'll forgive you for thinking I was being sarcastic, but this time I was being complimentary. Have another read. :LOL: Oh, and you're welcome. :)

    Just because we don't, doesn't mean we shouldn't.
  14. Pertaining to VMAC, I must ask; has there ever been a report detailing Exactly where this $60 levy is going to?
  15. In my role as MRA(Vic) President I have spoken and got to know every member of VMAC.

    I have attended several VMAc meeting as the MRA represenative, while Tony was on sick leave.

    Detailing exactly where the levy is being spent, is a complex 3 page document, and to be honest there are projects being considered where money has been earmarked, but is yet to be spent. there are others where small sums have been spent which are barely worth reporting - and there are some where large sums have been allocated - and of these last ones a public announcement has been made in each case.

    Of the VMAC members I know - (quite a few), these guys fight and argue as hard as they can to get things done "in your interests". It may be hard for many to accept this fact - that these people are actually getting it right - but, its very tough to argue with Vic Roads and get things to go in the right direction.

    Its a pity that more of you guys can't get to see these people in action. If you were exposed to "the process" then I think you would understand.
  16. Apologies to Seany first - I did misread your post... :oops:

    There has been stuff put out in the past detailing how much of the levy went where in general terms. The VMAC stand at the last two motorcycle shows had quite a bit of information available but only in broad categories.

    The terms of reference call for reporting to the Minister only.

    There's a list (without dollars) at http://www.arrivealive.vic.gov.au/i.../the_motorcycle_safety/approved_projects.html

    The view of the rider and industry reps is that we would like to see more communication. There are some project financials that need to be commercial in confidence - but not that many in my opinion.

    We have had the Minister's office get in touch and JK and I will be having a meeting with him on the 19th. The timing is good because there's the Australian Motorcycle Council AGM next weekend, VMAC on the 13th and the Motorcycle Safety Consultative Committee the following one - so anything coming out of those can be taken back to the meeting.
  17. Does this Society have a secret handshake? :wink:
  18. The Age article brings up something I see as a very interesting point

    This quote should read

    By comparison, young P-plate drivers must have 120 hours of supervised driving by someone who has no qualifications for supervision and often perpetuates there own poor driving habits before getting their car licence.

    On Friday I followed an L plater through a large chunk of Wyndham Vale and through multiple lane changes, performing right turns at 2 roundabouts and multiple other activities only indicated once…
    Yes Motorcycle riders may need some better training, but then again so do most car drivers.
  19. Or to put it more succinctly.

    "Learner drivers must have 120hrs of driving accompanied by unqualifed instructors."

    But yeah, you're right. 120hrs of being taught nothing is still, what? Nothing? Or being taught the same shit 120 times, if your first hour is comprised of whatever it is that you're exposed to.

    Like we did with our daughter when she got her licence. The first ten lessons were with a driving school. The instructor was a recently retired TOG copper. So, if anyone's qualified to teach then he was.

    Then, when we took over the reins, it was she who was pointing out our mistakes. Her final lessons and driving test were done with the instructor.

    And it must have worked. She's a great driver. She has survived four years of driving to and from Canberra for weekend visits tackling some of our nastier roads and dealing with city traffic now that she's back in Melbourne. In 14 years of driving she has had no prangs, except for some stupid biatch her rearended a car in Can'tberra which then shunted a car which shunted hers.

    That SB was yakking on her phone at the time...
  20. The following are extracts from an email by the Chair of VMAC to members talking about accountability etc.

    ...Someone has decided to institute a campaign around a nonsense proposition and the Ombudsman - in response to the request being made of him – will come to exactly this conclusion.

    I have given 3 interviews to media on the subject – the one to the Herald Sun was completely misreported – despite my providing a full account as outlined below the reporter chose to run the line that VMAC does not report and is secretive about spending priorities – needless to say I won’t be speaking to the Sun again!.

    The facts are that VMAC does not have access to or control over any funds as stated in the letter to the Ombudsman to which you referred. Nor is the administration or activities of VMAC (regional forums/Expo stand etc) funded in any way from the levy.

    VMAC is an advisory body which makes recommendations on how levy (and other) funds should be applied in the fields we cover. Therefore there is no financial accountability applicable to VMAC within the public audit protocols and it is wrong of anybody to claim that there is.

    TE: To date all recommendations from VMAC on the spending of levy funds have been accepted

    VMAC does however have a duty to consider and report to the Minister on matters covered under its’ brief. This is does on a regular basis by provision of the meeting agenda documents (the full kit) and the minutes of meetings issued later.

    This information is supplemented by meetings between the Minister and myself, meetings the Minister has with other parties attending VMAC ( e.g. rider groups), attendance by the Minister or Adviser ( or both) generally at least once per year and ongoing briefings from his department.


    The project spreadsheet and financial costings supplied to all VMAC members with each set of meeting papers represent a complete and comprehensive coverage of the landscape being undertaken at any one time under the VMAC umbrella. Every time the Minister receives one of these sets of briefings he is in fact being updated on the full picture 5 to six times a year – not just in August – as the proponents of this nonsense seem to think should be the case.

    It is also apposite to remember that every project which proceeds to implementation and spending has to have the approval of the Minister – after considering the recommendation from VMAC – which by anybody’s reading of the process means that the elected representative in the Parliament with responsibility for oversight of this program has full and complete accountability on every dollar spent from levy funds.

    To add to this, you will also be aware that the Vicroads Annual Report outlines the activities of the various advisory bodies (VMAC included) and draws this information from a summary of annual activities. The full suite of information is available to the Minster – who in the end signs off on the annual report ( and generally writes a preface to it).

    Now to go to the matter of direct oversight of the spending program. You (and others) have raised questions from time to time expressing doubts on the accuracy of the reportage of spending on programs in terms of lack of “real time†accounting of “actuals versus estimates†in the program information provided to VMAC.

    We would all agree that these areas have been significantly improved over the past 12-18 months as a new reporting format was developed and implemented. There may be room for further improvement and we will keep working for this.

    There has not, to my knowledge, been questioning of the “veracity†or truthfulness of any of the estimates or figures provided – and if there were I would rule that it would be a matter to take up with the Auditor General if Vicroads failed to respond satisfactorily to such a question.

    We have all agreed that VMAC and its agenda is receiving increasing scrutiny and interest – which I regard as a positive development. We have set in train some additional measures to ensure riders and industry are more widely informed on the process.

    We have now instituted a regular Chairman’s Communique from each meeting which seems to be well distributed through the networks. We also decided some time ago to prepare a more comprehensive annual report for the Minister which could be released more broadly if he chooses to do so.

    The latter will be seen by some to be a vindication of the claims about secrecy that they are making at the moment. Nothing could be further from the truth. As you know, it really stems from the view VMAC members formed after the distorted reporting of the launch of the Community Policing project that we need to put even more effort into communicating VMAC activities accurately and in more detail.



    Neil O’Keefe