By Ian Neubauer
Registered clubs in NSW have suffered their worst financial year on record, with an 11 per cent fall in revenue on the previous 12 months and the closure or amalgamation of 25 clubs.
The worst affected region was the Sydney CBD, where club income fell by a whopping 21.7 per cent. The second worst affected area was outer western Sydney where revenue fell by 15.5 per cent. Sydney’s eastern suburbs was close behind, with club income falling by 14.2 per cent for the 12 months.
Peak body ClubsNSW attributes the downturn to smoking bans that came into effect on July 2 last year, with CEO David Costello warning the ramifications will be felt through the community.
“Many not-for-profit organisations rely on club donations to the tune of more than $120 million a year. With corporate Australia drastically cutting back its support for charity and community groups this year, clubs are increasingly the glue that is holding many groups together,” he said.
“Unfortunately, with clubs closing and a record number of clubs currently in administration, this social contribution is now buckling under the enormous strain of the smoking bans and the devastating increases in poker machine tax.”
Costello nevertheless said he supported the ban.
“Many clubs have launched programs to encourage their smoking members to kick the habit once and for all such as providing nicotine patches, Nicabate tablets and even employing a hypnotist,” he said.
Registered clubs in NSW also spent $422 million in the past 12 months building outdoor smoking areas to prevent smokers from moving to the footpath or street.
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