MORE Hunter clubs are clawing their way back to profitability with 75per cent of clubs in the Hunter and Central Coast region posting a profit in 2012, new data shows.
That is a significant improvement on the 61per cent recorded in 2011, and 51per cent the year before that, according to the Forsythes Assurance and Risk annual clubs index.
Forsythes senior manager Martin Le Marchant said yesterday club revenues increased by an average of 4per cent.
“The results of the index confirm that the local club industry has improved its financial performance,” Mr Le Marchant said.
“Clubs have laid a foundation for the future by further diversifying their revenue streams,’’ he said.
Gaming remained the greatest source of revenue for clubs, and the next great unknown facing them was the federal government’s National Gambling Reform Bill, he said.
“Clubs have demonstrated that they have the ability to endure through uncertain and turbulent times, but cannot afford to be complacent,’’ Mr Le Marchant said.
‘‘Clubs must build on the foundations that have been laid and continue to diversify their income sources.”
The figures are based on a random but representative sample of about one third of all different types of clubs across the region, Mr Le Marchant said, including some clients of Forsythes.
Clubs NSW state councillor, and secretary manager of the Hexham Bowling Club Jon Chin said the report was warmly received by those at yesterday’s Clubs NSW regional meeting.
‘‘It’s quite interesting because the figures he has provided us with appear to be quite optimistic although on the ground level around Newcastle the general figures are not so impressive,’’ he said.
‘‘But it does give us some hope that things might be a little bit brighter than we thought.
‘‘I think there were quite a number of people that were pleasantly surprised because we are due for some good news.
‘‘People are still coming to clubs in the Newcastle area but they are not spending nearly as much and that’s reflected in the lethargic approach of consumers in the retail area as well but now that Christmas is just around the corner maybe they will get into the spirit of spending a little bit more.’’