Media Release

MOAMA SPORTS CLUB TO CLOSE / COUNCIL TO TAKE OVER LEASE

Thursday 21 June 2018

The Rich River Golf Club today announced that the Moama Sports Club will cease operating effective from 30 June 2018 and that Murray River Council will take over the lease on the Moama Sports Club site and will utilise the premises for office accommodation and associated Council facilities from 1 September 2018.

In making the announcement, Rich River Golf Club CEO Shane Gloury outlined that the Club had been approached by Council and had recently accepted an offer to take over the lease and associated facilities on the Moama Sports Club site.

"We have been concerned about the ongoing viability and diminishing returns of the Moama Sports Club (Sporties) for some time. The business has consistently been recording monthly losses for the past 18 months and if this action had not been taken, Sporties was heading towards a forecast loss of $150,000 this year. There is a highly competitive Club environment in Moama with four local Clubs servicing 6,200 residents. As other Clubs have progressively upgraded their facilities, Sporties has been left behind and patronage and profitability has suffered."

Gloury explained that the Club had considered the merits of upgrading the facilities at Moama Sports Club but had concluded that the considerable cost involved would not generate the return required and would be financially irresponsible to the detriment of Club members.

"We only have limited tenure at Sporties with a lease that expires in eleven years and no guarantees from Government that the existing lease will be extended. The estimated cost of upgrading the facilities at Sporties to the level required is $3M and quite simply we wouldn’t generate the level of return in a highly competitive local market to justify such expenditure at Sporties. We already have significant borrowings on our Balance Sheet and a number of very important capital projects critical to our business over the next few years including renovation of our accommodation facilities, upgrade of our irrigation system and additional purchases of high security water."

"When you take into account all of the factors, while the decision is not easy and it will be emotional for some, the best overall outcome for the future viability and ongoing sustainability of the Rich River Golf Club is to accept the offer from Council and to close the Moama Sports Club" said Gloury.

Whilst some staff will be affected by the closure, Gloury advised that the majority of Moama Sports Club staff will be offered employment at the Golf Club following the closure of Sporties. “We will support all of our valued and hardworking staff at Moama Sports Club throughout this process and we believe that we can provide ongoing employment at the Golf Club for the majority of Sporties employees” said Gloury.

Rich River Golf Club President Peter Boek said that whilst some members will be disappointed to see Sporties close, the decision to accept the offer from Council is the best overall for the Club and part of the ongoing evolution of the Rich River Golf Club. "Times and circumstances inevitably change and in today’s highly competitive environment the right decision for the future sustainability and success of the Rich River Golf Club is to cash in our chips at Sporties and accept the offer from Council."

"While some members will be disappointed not to have the option of going to Sporties after 30 June to enjoy its hospitality, all of our members have a fantastic state of the art Club facility at Rich River with great food, hospitality, entertainment, sporting facilities and a courtesy bus service that operates 7 days a week throughout Echuca and Moama. Members that have enjoyed going to Sporties can be easily accommodated at our larger and more modern Club facility at Rich River less than five minutes away."

Rich River Golf Club is a major tourist attraction and economic contributor to the Echuca Moama region. The Club attracts 100,000 visitors annually including 40,000 visitor golf rounds, 30,000 overnight guest stays and it has 8,700 members and employs 180 local employees.

Peter Boek highlighted that this outcome while it may initially be difficult for some to accept, was a win for the Club and a win for the Community. "Our Club’s ongoing sustainability is very important for the local community. In accepting Council’s offer, we will effectively consolidate our operations, improve our financial results, reduce our debt and this in turn will open up further opportunities for the benefit of the Club and its members. This decision enhances the sustainability and vitality of the Rich River Golf Club and the benefits that it provides to its members and the local Community. In addition the Community also benefits because Council will obtain premises in a prime location with the extra space and facilities that it requires, to better meet and service the ever increasing needs of the Community."

Moama Sports Club will remain open until Saturday 30 June 2018 with a major farewell and send off planned at Sporties on Friday 29 June.

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