Leader of the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party, Robert Borsak, has said the viability of member clubs across New South Wales should be a priority for the Government and they should be allowed to open as soon as possible before many are forced to close permanently.
“Clubs in New South Wales, like RSL’s and Bowling clubs, are integral to the fabric of many bush communities and we need to ensure their viability throughout the CoVid-19 pandemic.
“They should be allowed to open back up as soon as possible, and in the many communities which are coronavirus – free there is no reason why clubs and pubs, and perhaps other businesses and venues, couldn’t transition to safely operating by managing strict social distancing protocols,” said Mr Borsak.
Clubs New South Wales is one of the largest employers in regional and rural areas, employing over 13,000 full time workers and over 22,000 casual workers.
“At the moment Clubs NSW has stood down 91% of their casual staff because they cannot afford to keep them on during the pandemic, that could potentially destroy a lot of the smaller clubs in the bush.
“If any business is adept at making changes to their operations, it is clubs NSW.
“They underwent rigorous changes when smoking was banned from inside their venues, not to mention the dual role many clubs play in our communities immediately turning into crisis and evacuation centres when we need them.
“Adapting to COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing would be no problems for these establishments, and they could pave the way for a host of other businesses in our country communities carefully returning to operation, essential to breathing cultural and economic life back into our communities,” said Mr Borsak.
The Shooters Fishers and Farmers concerns surround the impact the closures will have on the community in the short term and the potential loss of many of these clubs, permanently, in the long term if they cannot reopen as soon as possible.
“How many clubs across rural New South Wales do we know that support local fundraising initiatives and sponsor many local sporting groups? Without clubs our communities would be at a loss.
“Provided that social distancing and health advice is followed the Shooters Fishers and Farmer’s Party are pushing for the Government to consider allowing them to reopen, as soon as possible, so that our communities have one less concern during these incredibly trying times,” said Mr Borsak.