Murwillumbah Services Club CEO Guy Diven says amalgamation would give clubs “the opportunity to sandbag our business”.
Murwillumbah Services Club CEO Guy Diven says amalgamation would give clubs “the opportunity to sandbag our business”. Scott Powick

Clubs consider merger plan

MURWILLUMBAH'S five registered clubs are considering amalgamation in a bid to survive as governments tighten rules for poker machines and club patrons tighten their belts.

The amalgamation is being spearheaded by the Murwillumbah Services Club, which has only just taken over the town's bowling club. So far, however, other clubs appear cool on the idea.

The move follows a $75,000 study into the financial viability of the five Murwillumbah clubs – the Services, Bowls, Leagues, Golf and Condong Bowls clubs – which found amalgamation could result in savings of more than $550,000 a year.

It comes hard on the heels of the takeover of the Murwillumbah Bowls and Sports Club by the Services Club which has cost the bigger club $503,000 to date. Each club board was due to respond to Clubs NSW, which would oversee any amalgamation, by the beginning of this week.

Services Club Group CEO Guy Diven said his club's board wanted to continue to the “next phase” of the program, which involved detailed investigations of the feasibility.

“We are really hopeful all the club boards would see the wonderful opportunity this presents for long-term sustainability and survival given some of the things going on in the federal sphere,” he said, referring to restrictions on poker machines.

“We are looking over a five-year period of savings in excess of $2.2 million, which gives the clubs the opportunity to re-invest in Murwillumbah.”

Mr Diven said the merged organisation would have one board of directors, one executive management team and various site managers and the savings would help clubs upgrade sports facilities.

 



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