Message From the President

Dear Members,

Firstly, I trust that you have all remained safe and well during COVID-19 and continue to remain safe and well despite the current floods.

Trading

Trading conditions have slowly started to improve however the effects of closure, no international and inter and intra state travel, and frequent use of the Club for functions and general use, have resulted in, as you would appreciate:

• Our usual occupancy rate for accommodation up to 80% falling to as low as 5% in the peak of COVID but it has recovered in March 2021 to 39% occupancy, still a long way to go, a diminution on pre COVID trading of $576,833;
• Garage is below pre COVID numbers by 42.8% or $78,413;
• Functions remain 48.9% below revenues but are improving, still $424,000 below the same time last year prior to the commencement of COVID;
• Member movement, including new members and resignations, despite COVID, has held firm and we can only thank the loyalty and support of our members, and our membership and marketing team.

Despite the above revenue pressures, astute management across all areas has achieved the following outcomes for which we thank all of our staff led by Markus Friedler, Lisa Waayer and Kathy Symons:

• employee costs have been reduced by 22% of $449,938 year to date;
• total expenses have been reduced by 25% or $929,598 year to date; and
• limited an operating deficit to only ($25,138) as at 28 February 2021.

which measure have offset what could have been an otherwise unsustainable trading position.

It must be noted that the above result includes the Commonwealth Government monthly JobKeeper payments, which highlights the need for all of us as members to support and use our Club, whether by way of subscription payment or use of its facilities.

The reality for all of us is that to conduct the Club into the future from 89 Macquarie Street will require:

• expensed repairs and maintenance ($163,729 as at 28 February 2021 for the current financial year);
• capital expenditure (up to $350,000 in the current year);
• the Albert Street façade restoration; and
• consistent trading surpluses.

Subscriptions

Previous member communications have indicated that as subscriptions remain a significant contributor by all of us to our continued viability and maintenance of our magnificent building, they must continue to be commensurate with fixed and variable cost which unfortunately increase annually.

A survey of comparable Clubs indicates our current Town membership subscription to be 50% of their subscription levels. Whilst that has been, and is, a benefit to us all, it is unsustainable into the future if a competent and effective business case is to be maintained by your Board and management.

We trust that all of us as members wish to continue to preserve our wonderful heritage building and the Club within, and wish to work together and share the reasonable subscription contribution to do so.

There must be an increase to subscriptions to ensure that we cover the necessary costs to operate the Club for the benefit of all members.

The minimum spend component continues to be an amount which we have available to cover our own hospitality during the year so such increase can be apportioned to allow part of the increase to be used by members as they use the Club.

The collective support of all members will ensure the viability of the Club and 89 Macquarie Street well into the future.

Foundation and Heritage Floor Space

The Board has introduced an RACA Foundation which enables members to voluntarily make tax deductible contributions to the Foundation which will be applied to building projects such as necessary restoration works and the façade.

The Club has established a RACA member account with the Australian Sporting Foundation Limited ABN 27 008 613 858 (ASF). It is a company limited by guarantee and a not for profit company established in 1989 by statute, the Australian Sports Commission Act 1989 (Cth). ASF is wholly owned by the Commonwealth under the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth).

Grants are made at the discretion of ASF. RACA has a member’s account and contributions can be drawn down, as required and on request, on application by RACA, by way of grant to make improvements to 89 Macquarie Street.

Because sporting clubs and other bodies that promote sport (including the ASF) are generally inherently incapable of qualifying as charities under the general law and the Charities Act 2013 (Cth), and therefore of becoming registered charities under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth), they are also generally incapable of receiving grants/donations/distributions from Public or Private Ancillary Funds (PuAFs and PAFs). The ASF provides such a vehicle which now has many member Clubs including Tattersalls Club.

The Property Committee also continues to pursue the sale of heritage floor space and is engaging with appropriate heritage specialists at Urbis, and some suitably qualified members of the Club, to discuss necessary conservation plan preparation and otherwise dealing with all necessary requirements before again approaching the Sydney City Council.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Callanan
President

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