Written on the 16 December 2015 by Kevin Conolly

Registered clubs in the north-west now have the ability under law to become centres of shelter and safety in emergencies for any resident living within a 5km radius, under NSW Government changes that recognise clubs as the hubs of their local communities.

Member for Riverstone Kevin Conolly MP said the Registered Clubs Amendment (Exception to 5 Kilometre Rule) Regulation 2015 will relax the requirement for anyone living within a 5 kilometre radius of a registered club to be a full member or member's guest to enter a club during emergencies.

The change came into effect last Friday, 11 December 2015 and formalises the ability of registered clubs to be respite and recovery centres in case of disasters.

"This is a great move that will ensure our local registered clubs can provide shelter, relief or other forms of assistance to local residents during emergency situations that endanger, or threaten to endanger, their safety or health,'' Kevin Conolly said.

"This law change will formalise the ability for our local clubs such as Riverstone Schofields Memorial Club to help their communities in times of extreme need.''

Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant said registered clubs make a substantial economic and social contribution to this state and provide key facilities in regional and metropolitan communities across NSW.

"Clubs are also one of the state's largest employers providing jobs to 42,000 people including 20,000 regional jobs and contributing more than $3.2 billion a year to the state's economy, but more importantly they are social and community hubs and potential lifelines for their communities in emergencies,'' Mr Grant said.

Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott said: "This change will assist clubs to help in situations such as fires, floods, storms and heatwaves where residents need to seek shelter and safety quickly.''

Implementation of the commitments contained in the Government's 2014 MoU with ClubsNSW is under way and will help clubs to continue to deliver benefits to communities across NSW.

The MoU formally recognises the important role clubs play in providing community facilities, including emergency accommodation, and supporting the work of our emergency services when natural disasters occur.

This has been illustrated during devastating bushfires and storms in recent years where clubs have provided assistance to residents and emergency service workers, including accommodation and meals.

Author: Kevin Conolly


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