There are certain journalists and media organisations, along with some self-serving one-dimensional people with a political agenda who are always quick to criticise the club movement and blame it for every evil that afflicts modern society.

However, if there is one industry that always stands up to be counted in times of need, and especially in times of natural disaster, it is, without doubt, the Club industry.  Whether it is flood, fire or drought, clubs across Australia are there collecting donations and much-needed supplies. They are raising funds and volunteering whatever assistance and support are needed, in this case, to help the farmers affected by the ongoing relentless big dry.

With 99 per cent of NSW now in the grip of a crippling drought, it is clubs large and small, city, suburban and regional who are digging deep.

Clubs like Woolgoolga SLSC who are rallying each of the 129 surf lifesaving clubs and their members across the state to donate one bale of hay each, so they can send a semi-trailer load of feed to help relieve some financial pressure for those who are struggling.  Other surf clubs like Swansea Belmont SLSC have started their own campaigns through the Buy A Bale initiative.

Clubs like Ramsgate RSL whose staff have come together to donate the cost of a bale of hay out of their pay – and then the club matching every team members donation with an additional bale. And just like so many other clubs, they are urging members and guests to donate to the collection of non-perishable goods.

There are countless other clubs raising funds from concerts, raffles, donations, drives and product sales like the Parma for a Farmer program. They include clubs like Bathurst RSL, Club Jarvis Bay, Wests Leagues Club, Harbord Diggers, Revesby Workers, Club Dubbo, The Hills Club, Clarence Town Bowling Club, Foster Bowling Club, Moorebank Sports, Stockton Bowling Club, Coffs Ex-Services Club, Miranda Diggers, Kahibah Sports, Foster Bowling Club, Cherry Street Bowling Club….and the list goes on.

Then we have Penrith Panthers who have contributed $200,000 to the Big Dry Drought Appeal – a $100,000 contribution from Panthers Group and a $100,000 commitment from Panthers Rugby League. They’ve thrown down the challenge to other NRL clubs to do the same.

On Monday of this week, ClubsNSW announced it was partnering with Team Rubicon Australia and appealed to member clubs who may wish to assist by donating funds. ClubsNSW confirmed they were making a minimum commitment of $35,000, including a donation of $10,000 from the Central West regional

Team Rubicon Australia uses the skills and experiences of Australian Defence Force veterans to rapidly deploy emergency response teams to disaster zones. All funds raised from this drought appeal will underpin the deployment of approx. 30 veterans trained in disaster response. The initial deployment will be based out of central western NSW and will target those hardest hit, partnering with local and national charities to deliver the greatest impact possible for drought-affected farmers including equipment, food and emotional support required.

ClubsNSW recommended that member clubs make donations directly to Team Rubicon Australia as per the details below.

Name: Team Rubicon Australia Bank:

ANZ BSB: 012-013

ACC: 4623 23 23 4

ABN: 44 614 474 010

We know there are many more clubs we haven’t mentioned here doing their bit to help however they can – and each and every one needs to be applauded. It is what community clubs do every day, but rarely get recognised for.  If those so-called journalists and one trick pony politicians got their way and shut clubs down – what would happen to our communities in times like this? Do you think they would or could step up to fill the void?

I hope we never have to find out.