Zone 15 Secures Standing As Go-ahead Bowls Region

Central Coast Herald

Wednesday December 31, 2003

Paul Callaghan - On the kitty

ZONE 15 (Central Coast) has completed another successful year and reaffirmed its reputation as one of the state's most progressive areas.

Zone publicity officer Kevin Dring listed the choice of Halekulani Bowling Club as the venue for the Australian junior titles in September as a milestone in the Central Coast's recognition as a premier lawn bowls region.

``The fact that Bowls Australia was most happy with the way the tournament was conducted and has appointed Halekulani to stage it again speaks volumes for our district," Dring said.

He said Bateau Bay's second placing in the state No.1 pennant and Toukley RSL Bowling Club's second in the state No.6 pennant were also indicators of the zone's health.

``Few other zones could boast of having two state runners-up, so bowls in our region is strong," Dring said.

``The bowls academy is also helping to develop the talent of promising players, and our junior bowls group is continuing to uncover players of potential."

Dring said the zone was also investigating the merit of staging more over-65 competitions and had circulated the clubs about their interest in a winter midweek triples pennant competition.

While most clubs will end the year on a happy note, there are genuine worries in the licensed club industry about the State Government's proposed gaming tax increases to be introduced in September.

How will it impact on local bowling clubs, some of which are reportedly already feeling the strain?

Some of the more extravagant claims in the club industry are that many clubs will go to the wall in coming years.

Bowling clubs, with greens maintenance and rising overheads linked to static memberships, would appear to be more vulnerable than most to a sudden tax increase.

Norah Head Bowling and Sports Club Ltd is one of the district's smaller bowling clubs. It has two synthetic greens and a solid bowls membership.

Secretary-manager Greg Acret estimates that initially the increases will have minimal effect.

But he said if the club's growth rate continued, then by 2010 the tax slug could be much more of a problem for his club.

One consolation was the return of the GST rebate to clubs.

In Norah Head's case, this could have amounted to between $10,000 and $15,000.

Terrigal Bowling Club secretary-manager Paul Wellham said in August there would be a nine per cent increase in gaming tax on the club's gross revenue received annually.

He estimated at the time that between 2004 and 2010, the club would be forced to pay an extra $115,000 in state taxes.

Undoubtedly, the tax will bite hard at some of the larger clubs, who may find it hard to stay afloat financially.

© 2003 Central Coast Herald

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