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

Deputy Premier and Police Minister Troy Grant Troy Grant says the Registered Clubs Amendment (Exception to 5 Kilometre Rule) Regulation 2015 will relax the requirement for anyone living within a 5km radius of a registered club to be a member to enter the club during emergencies.  He says the change came into effect yesterday  Friday 11 December  and formalises the ability of clubs to be respite and recovery centres in case of disasters. “This is a great move that will allow registered clubs to provide shelter, relief or other forms of assistance to local residents during emergency situations that endanger, or threaten to endanger, their safety or health,’’ says Mr Grant.

Emergency Services Minister David Elliott says this is for situations such as fires, floods, storms and heat waves where residents need to seek shelter and safety quickly. “This law change will allow our local clubs to help their communities in times of extreme need,” he says.

Mr Grant says registered clubs make a substantial economic and social contribution to the state and provide key facilities in regional and metropolitan communities across New South Wales. “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,” he says.

Implementation of the commitments contained in the Government’s 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (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 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.

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The new amendment came in the nick of time for Kurnell residents who were forced to spend the night at the designated evacuation centre at Sharks Leagues Club after a tornado ripped through the community last Wednesday.

Sharks Leagues Club acted as a refuge providing a meeting place and shelter as well as meals and refreshments for over 150 displaced residents and over 500 emergency services staff & volunteers in what was a considerable logistical exercise.

The Sharks also loaded the Leagues Club courtesy bus with food and supplies donated by generous local businesses and delivered them to Martin Hall in Kurnell earlier today for distribution to those residents most affected.

Group CEO Lyall Gorman was proud the Sharks were able to contribute to the cause at a time when the local community needed it most.

“It was an outstanding effort from everyone involved and a true to testament to who we are as a club and what we stand for in our community,” Gorman said. “It was incredibly well done to all under massive pressure.

“Nothing highlights more succinctly, the impact and influence our Club and our people can have on our Community.”