Date: 3 August 2018
The Gold Coast’s community clubs are up in arms over the Tourism Minister, The Hon Kate Jones’ strategy to rob their communities of vital funding and support by opening the gate to casino operators to steal their business.
Yesterday, the Minister revealed her cunning plan to fill casino floors with gaming machines taken from the community club industry in Queensland.
“We are just floored. One minute, the Minister said there would be no more poker machine licenses for casinos. In the next minute she says that she’s going to get them from the existing pool to give to them.” said Mr Andrew McInnes, Nerang RSL.
“Well, they are community club machine licenses and we aren’t giving them up.”
Nerang RSL has a long and proud history of supporting their local community. Some of the community organizations that have benefitted from Nerang RSL’s support include Healing Hooves, Nerang Meals on Wheels and the Nerang Community Association. They also provide bursaries to 12 local schools to support children to further their education; they have supported local children with disabilities to attend the Special Olympics; and are supporters of the Gold Coast Referees Association.
“We have over 92 community groups that we support directly with cash and other support. As a not-for-profit organization this is what we do and why we are here” said Mr. McInnes “and the profit from gaming machines is crucial to fulfilling our promise to the local community.”
‘This ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ strategy of the Minister’s is going to hurt many Queensland communities, not just here in Nerang. The machines will be drawn from throughout the Queensland so it’s not just us. I don’t think the Minister understands just how much local communities rely on clubs just to survive and help those who need it most.”
“Casinos are privately owned with very little interest in community. Our clubs put money back into the community, not into the pockets of private companies.’
Steve Edgar, General Manager Coolangatta SLSC Supporters Club, echoed the sentiment.
“We’d struggle to put an adequately kitted out surf patrol on Coolangatta Beach if our revenue dropped. That’s lives in danger.” he said.
“Money is tight and we work hard so that every bit of profit we have can buy equipment to keep Coolangatta Beach patrolled and safe for locals, our volunteer lifesavers and tourists. Safe beaches are important for tourists.”
“A casino won’t be getting our machines. In fact, I don’t know of any club who would give them up. Tourists need safe patrolled beaches, not more casinos” he said.
Clubs Queensland CEO, Doug Flockhart is equally flummoxed by the Minister’s strategy.
‘This thinking of the Minister’s is flawed on so many levels. I have had so many clubs ring me from throughout Queensland to tell me they won’t be giving their gaming licenses up. In fact, their members are concerned too. They have seen the media reports on the Gold Coast and know how much the clubs contribute to their communities. For many members, that’s why they joined their community club in the first place.”
“The message from the clubs is strong. You won’t be getting our machines Minister.”
- Clubs in Queensland are membership-based, not-for-profit organisations that exist to provide services to members and the local community.
- There are over 1,100 community clubs in Queensland. Together, they hold 2.4 million memberships, employ over 22,000 people (with 9,000 based in regional Queensland), return over $850 million in social contributions and generate annual economic activity valued over $2.2 billion for the State’s economy.
- The surplus generated by clubs is used to deliver important and highly valued services in their surrounding communities and to visitors to their region. This support includes cash contributions, non-cash benefits, community assets and the mobilisation of volunteers.
- These are important community hubs for social interaction and engagement. Members have a shared sense of values and belonging and this strengthens the social fabric and promotes strong community cohesion.
CEO, Clubs Queensland
M: 0418 784 576
Communications & Government Relations Manager, Clubs Queensland
M: 0417 615 463
Steve Edgar, Coolangatta SLSC Supporters,
07 5536 4648
, Nerang RSL, 07 5578 1222