The Waves Sports Club CEO Brendan Royall.
The Waves Sports Club CEO Brendan Royall.

Calls for reopening wave to back community clubs

THE Waves CEO Brendan Royall has joined Clubs Queensland in calling for a level playing field for the reopening of hospitality venues as the state begins its recovery from COVID-19.

Clubs Queensland Acting CEO Dan Nipperess said the state’s community clubs should be treated the same as restaurants and cafes, which hope to re-open in June.

Ahead of tomorrow’s National Cabinet meeting, Mr Nipperess said Queenslanders should be allowed to return to their community clubs at the same time as restaurants and cafes unless health advice was released to show otherwise.

Queensland’s community clubs include sporting, returned services leagues, surf lifesaving, cultural, ethnic and special interests clubs.

The Waves Club CEO Brendan Royall said the reopening of community clubs was about more than the jobs of the 22,000 Queenslanders who work for the organisations, which collectively generate more than $2.2 billion of economic impact in the state each year.

“These clubs are also a meeting point for people in the Bundaberg region who rely on social

interaction,” Mr Royall said.

“This interaction can be done with proper social distancing measures in place. But it’s an important consideration after so many weeks of social isolation for many people in Bundaberg and beyond.

“The chance to interact again with people is an important consideration in the need to provide a fair go for all hospitality venues at this time.”

Mr Nipperess said there was more than 860 not-for-profit clubs in Queensland that play a critical role in their communities.

“Those community clubs should be provided with the same fair go as restaurants and cafes when it comes to reopening for customers,” he said.

“What is the difference between people being allowed to gather in the confined spaces of restaurants or at a cafe in a busy shopping centre compared to a community club?”

“If there is health advice that says otherwise, that advice should be publicly released so that

Queenslanders can learn more about the steps to recovery.”

Mr Nipperess said they support proper social distancing, hygiene measures and acting at all times in accordance with health advice, but think if it’s safe for restaurants and cafes, then it’s safe for community clubs.

“Clubs as licensees are already heavily regulated, so are also well positioned in terms of

compliance with additional regulation around things such as social distancing and hygiene

measures,” he said.

In a press conference this morning Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she hopes to have information out to Queenslanders on the matter of pubs and clubs and shortly after the National Cabinet Meeting.

“There is a lot of work happening, we’ve got to have COVID safe plans in place for cafes, restaurants, pubs, RSLs to reopen,” she said.

“We’re getting all of that work done, there’s been a lot of good work that’s happening.”

Clubs Queensland has drafted measures that would assist its members across the state in developing and enforcing strict health compliance measures for the safety of its patrons.

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