Concerns for future of clubs
Numurkah Golf and Bowls Club is one of 163 clubs supporting a Community Clubs Victoria program to advise members of party policies in next month’s Victorian election.
As a venue which operates electronic gaming machines, the club, in conjunction with CCV, is will provide advice to members about the policies parties contesting the election.
CCV said the initiative was because the industry was under increasing pressure and, if further changes were introduced to stifle gaming, the future of clubs with gaming was questionable.
It was the first time in its 102-year history CCV has mobilised its membership base.
CCV president Leon Wiegard said community clubs were fed up with various interest groups continually misrepresenting facts and not recognising the contribution clubs make to the community.
‘‘This effort to mobilise for the 2018 election will involve 163 clubs representing more than 600 000 adult members,’’ he said.
‘‘These venues employ about 20 000 staff, about 30 per cent of whom are employed in regional Victoria.
‘‘Community clubs in Victoria are immensely proud of our role as vital hubs within local communities.
‘‘These clubs are not-forprofit enterprises and operate gaming machines to support their reason for being — be it sporting, charitable, social or community-based.
‘‘Gaming is always secondary to what a community club offers its members and the wider community in which it operates.
‘‘EGMs are legal and licensed to venues by the Victorian Government. Around 35 per cent of our revenue is returned to state and local governments in the form of taxes and rates, which is then directed to schools, hospitals and other vital infrastructure.
‘‘We then cover our wages and operating expenses, including local suppliers who serve our clubs. Anything that is left is returned to the community.
‘‘The broader clubs’ movement makes an annual social contribution of more than $1 billion a year in Victoria and consisted of community donations, subsidised access to facilities and volunteering.’’
The strategy relies on clubs communicating with members, asking them to exercise a prudent vote at the next election.
Clubs will tell members which party or candidate to support, but simply supplying information to consider.
The campaign will operate under the Clubs are the Community banner and information is available electronically and printed.
Mr Wiegard thought the campaign would impact some Lower House seats, but said it was in the Upper House where the club’s vote could impact the balance of power.