Registered clubs in NSW remain a “significant contributor” to the state’s economy, the industry body says, but it acknowledges one-third of clubs are “showing signs of financial distress”.
Clubs NSW identified demographic changes and drought among the factors having an impact in regional areas such as Dubbo.
The battle for survival is playing out in the western NSW city in recent times.
Sporties Dubbo in Erskine Street entered voluntary administration in November.
It was established six decades ago.
Meanwhile Dubbo City Bowling Club’s financial challenges prompted it to embark on a process of amalgamation with Dubbo RSL Memorial Club, with RSL members giving the plan the go-ahead on November 25.
The moves could reshape the local landscape.
Clubs NSW makes the case for the importance of the sector.
“The NSW club industry remains a significant contributor to the NSW economy, employing thousands of people in regional communities,” a spokesperson said.
When asked by the Daily Liberal about the industry’s prospects, the spokesperson provided advice offering some cause for optimism, but also an acknowledgement of testing times.
“The most recent 2015 NSW Club Census found that overall, financial viability in the industry has improved since 2011, however challenges remain – particularly for smaller, regional clubs,” the spokesperson said.
“While 67 per cent of clubs in NSW are in a strong position, 33 per cent are showing signs of financial distress.
“In regional areas such as Dubbo, this can be attributed to challenges relating to demographic change and even environmental factors such as the ongoing drought.”
The principle of merging has some support from the peak body.
“As the industry body, Clubs NSW encourages clubs to consider amalgamations where appropriate,” the spokesperson said.
“Amalgamations allow clubs to pool resources and continue trading, which in turn, ensures they can continue to support their local community.”