Members agree amalgamation is the only viable option

Cobar Memorial Services Club members have voted unanimously to investigate the possibility of amalgamating the club with a ‘parent’ club.

That was the consensus of the members at the Services Club’s annual general meeting on Saturday.

In the absence of the board’s president, Jarrod Barraclough (who was an apology for the meeting), Fred Geldof, who was recently appointed as an advisor to the board, chaired the meeting.

Mr Geldof introduced himself to the 36 members present outlining his almost 30 years’ of experience managing pubs and clubs.

Mr Geldof also outlined his prior experience with amalgamation as a ‘parent’ club.

He said he had been active working with ClubsNSW over his career and was involved in the Wilkie/Xenaphon Pokie reforms.

Mr Geldof said while he had been out of the industry since 2016 and some things had changed, many aspects of the industry hadn’t.

Due to his experience and interest, the board invited Mr Geldof to join them in an advisory capacity.

“The members have made me feel welcome here,” Mr Geldof said.

Mr Geldof told the meeting with no audited financial records available for the 2020/2021, 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 years (due to COVID and the club’s auditor being ill), he has had a look at the club’s figures and can report that as of the end of September 2023 the club is currently viable.

“The club has $150,000 cash at bank, and loans similar.

“The club is not in arrears with loans or trades debtors,” he said.

“There are no problems with cash flow but the club is only “treading water”, it can only pay bills but is not in a position to make improvements.”

Mr Geldof said the members were entitled to have audited financial reports and the meeting voted that a new auditor be appointed and that the past three years’ figures be audited as soon as possible.

The current board were also re-appointed for 6-12 months or until such times as the club completes the process of amalgamation talks.

Mr Geldof told the meeting that following putting out a notice for expressions of interest with ClubsNSW for amalgamation, they have received three enquiries, one from a metropolitan club, and two from regional clubs. (He was not able to mention the names of the clubs due to confidentiality agreements.)

He said there had not been an expression of interest from a local club as yet.

There was some discussion at the meeting that “lots of clubs were now amalgamating” with Dubbo, Bathurst and a number of Metro clubs named.

It was suggested that if the club received a cash donation, it would only be a “short term fix” and members voted unanimously that entering into amalgamation talks would be the best way forward for the long term viability of the club.

“We’re hoping within 12 months there will be some solid directions for the club,” Mr Geldof said.