Chairman’s Report – May 2014
We can look back at 2013 as being a year of significant achievement where the Club recorded its best financial result since 2005.
Over the last seven years, our club and industry has undergone extreme financial pressure with the introduction of new smoking laws, taxation reforms, and ongoing Government intervention on the planned restriction on gaming machine operations. Throughout these turbulent times, your Board and management made some tough decisions that got us through the difficult times, which has resulted in us not only surviving, but providing us with the foundation to achieving the success we have today.
Thankfully through the efforts of Clubs NSW, constant lobbying, the Government watered down some of the gaming machine restrictions, and the newly elected Coalition Government repealed most other aspects of the legislation.
The CEO will elaborate on the financial results but suffice to say we are well above budget in all areas of the business. To my mind though, the best gauge of all of a successful club is membership growth and visitations, where in 2013 we achieved record numbers.
Over the last 12 months, we have undergone a soft refurbishment of the main floor, which includes new carpet, painting, and design elements. Our fleet of machines has been enhanced with inclusion of some of the latest games from leading manufacturers. We have dramatically increased our promotional offerings including members’ promotions, and activities, including Bingo, raffles and entertainment. Our dining partners, Maze and Star Buffet, continue to offer exceptional products and service to all our members, with our food offering being of the highest standard, and populated by tens of thousands of members and guests over a one year period.
Penrith RSL is blessed with a vibrant and young Executive Leadership Team led by a hard working Chief Executive Officer, who never stops looking for ways to improve the business. Collectively our Senior Leadership team have a wealth of experience and who continually strive for the advancement and betterment of the Club. The Team attend monthly meetings of the Board and their contribution is highly regarded.
Community Support and Engagement
During October 2013 bushfire emergency the Club provided emergency assistance as an evacuation centre and collection point for donated goods. We continue to support our RSL tradition and provide assistance to many ex service organisations through financial support and accommodation for meetings and social events. We are particularly supportive of youth organisations whether they are sporting, cultural or leadership mentoring or training.
The Board and management have long recognised the unique location of Penrith RSL Club in the CBD of Penrith. We also understand the importance of establishing, and maintaining relationships within our community, as well as actively participating in community activities, and programs, as well as acknowledging and meeting community needs. As a result, the Club has identified two key community partnerships which will commence mid 2014.
I am proud to announce our partnership with Max Potential, who will work exclusively with Penrith RSL, the community, and local businesses for the establishment of community projects, in addition to leadership and development of the selected year 11 students within Penrith.
In addition to this, Penrith RSL will also be the Exclusive club partner of Primary Ethics, whereby our members and staff will have the opportunity to volunteer to work with primary schools and students in years K to 6 on leadership, development, as volunteer ethics teachers.
Club Master Plan
To achieve all we need to, and to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the business, in addition to meeting the community’s needs, we need to ensure that our by-line “in the heart of the City”, is core to the planning and development of the business.
We understand and acknowledge that for our continued growth and development, we need to maximise our site and ensure that we are at the active participants in the growth and sustainability of Penrith, as well as continuing to liaise with planning opportunities with Penrith City Council. To achieve this, we are currently carefully and constructively planning for the future of the Club and are in the process of establishing a Master Plan to guide us though at least the next 20 years.
To this end we have engaged a team of professionals to assist in establishing the Master Plan project. We are working closely with Penrith City Council who has a particular interest in the future development of the CBD precinct of which we form a major part.
A New Era of Change
Penrith RSL Club Ltd established itself as a leader in the Club Industry, as one of very few registered Clubs who saw the need for gender equality on the Board and representation of our female members. Over four years ago we sought the inclusion of two extra female directors who were current practitioners, were qualified and experienced women in today’s business environment. This identified need was overwhelmingly accepted by the members.
Collectively with three female Board members, (Diane Azzopardi, Jenny May, and Carol Prain) the Club has gained insights from their business experience and of course the very important female perspective in our deliberations. This is evident with decisions relating to safety and security of the Club as well as the introduction of family friendly amenities, entertainment, policies around children and junior sport.
Proposed Changes to Constitution
At the AGM we will be asking members to approve amendments to the Constitution. These changes to a certain extent are to meet the Governance requirements being put forward by Clubs NSW and the NSW Government, but also to give us a more balanced representation on the Board.
The first special resolution relates to director succession planning. As part of Board Policy we are obliged to put into place Director Succession Planning to establish a set procedure for the refresh of the Board on a regular basis.
The second special resolution asks members to approve a rule that relates to potential directors attending a pre-nomination information session. This is to fully inform candidates of the requirements to become a director of a registered club and to establish whether they can meet the minimum standards now coming into law.
The third special resolution asks members to approve a rule that will guarantee a minimum of three female directors on the Board at all times. As we progress through our new era of change, and to maintain the gender balance of at least three female Directors, the Board Is seeking a change in the Constitution to establish and guarantee a reasonable mix of gender on the Board.
The fourth special resolution is to include a provision that the Board at its discretion can appoint an extra specialist practitioner where necessary to fill a gap in any expertise required on the Board, eg an accountant, solicitor or property specialist. This appointment could be for the normal 3 year term or shorter if only needed for a specific time or reason. This type of appointment is in line with guidelines established under the Registered Clubs Regulations.
A full explanation of these resolutions is available on the Club website and has been placed on the Club Notice Board. Copies of the special resolutions along with Ordinary Resolutions can also be obtained on request at Club Reception.
2013 has been a significant year for your Club where we have achieved many improvements and financial stability. We provide an excellent venue for a diverse member base of over 33,000 members, be it those who enjoy the dining, live bands, promotions, facilities, or those who just want to drop in for relaxation in the comfortable lounge areas. As mentioned previously the significant growth in membership is testament to the attraction of Penrith RSL Club.
Of course any business relies heavily on excellent customer service, and our team of friendly staff well and truly go above and beyond most customer expectations. Congratulations to the staff at Penrith RSL – you have once again done a magnificent job.
To our members, thank you for your support during the difficult years and may you enjoy the fruits of our success for many more years to come.
Neville K Barnier Dip FP, MAICD