Bateau Bay Bowling Club; St John Fisher Catholic School
Mr McBRIDE (The Entrance) [5.13 p.m.]: On Tuesday 16 October the Bateau Bay Bowling Club, now known as The Bay, opened its new $7.4 million club premises on the site of the existing club at 5 Bias Ave, Bateau Bay. This was the beginning of a week-long celebration which put the new club firmly in place as one of the most successful clubs on the Central Coast. The club was formally opened on Friday 16 November by the President of the Royal New South Wales Bowling Association, Mr Terry Murphy, in the company of the club president, Mr Ken Long, and former club presidents, members of the executive and other bowling club representatives from the region.
The $7.4 million facility was built by Premier Club Constructions on time and within budget. The level of construction quality and finish is a credit to the management of Premier Club Constructions, the board of Bateau Bay Bowling Club—including President Ken Long, Senior Vice-President Alan Jack, Vice-President Richard Martin, Treasurer Michael Dietrich, directors Don Trigg, Frank Tattam, Noel Post, Peter Salter and Kenneth Baker, and Secretary Stephen Higginbotham—and all the tradespeople, materials suppliers, engineers, designers and other good people who worked on the project.
Bateau Bay Bowling Club is the largest bowling club in Australia, with more than 900 bowlers. Without evidence to the contrary, it has the largest number of bowlers of any club in Australia, and possibly in the Southern Hemisphere. The club's three greens are recognised as the best on the Central Coast. A fourth green will be developed on the site of the old club, and will be ready for use by mid next year. The lighting of two greens for night bowls has been approved, and installation of the lights is expected to be completed by the end of January 2002. In the opening address, club president Ken Long outlined the extent of the detail and effort put into planning in the three years prior to construction.
Accordingly, the community has been awarded with a purpose-built clubhouse with first-rate food services at affordable prices, a large brasserie, coffee shop, lounge, TAB lounge, bowlers' lounge, modern locker rooms, function rooms, an outdoor terrace overlooking the greens and car parking for more than 200 vehicles. The main entry provides an undercover drop-off area for people attending the club. I had the opportunity to inspect the clubhouse both during construction and subsequent to the opening, and the project is impressive by any standards. Since the opening of the club the staff has increased from 26 to 40, an increase of 54 per cent. This represents more jobs for local people. Membership has increased from 4,300 to 6,200, an increase of 44 per cent. Turnover has increased by a whopping 71 per cent, and more than 40,000 meals were served in the first week of trading.
The Bay is clearly an example of a club providing a specialist service—namely, bowling—to an appreciative and participating local community. I thank the Minister for Gaming and Racing, who has just entered the Chamber, for his involvement with respect to the poker machine freeze. I made representations to the Minister on behalf of the club. Subsequent to the imposition of the freeze, the project would have stalled, if not fallen over, except the licensing authority decided to allow the club to increase the number of poker machines. As I said, The Bay is clearly an example of providing a first-class facility for the local community. The Bay is what clubs should be about—a local facility providing relevant services to the local community for the benefit of the wider community. I congratulate Ken Long and all those who contributed to this great new community facility.
On 7 October I had the honour of attending a moving Remembrance Day ceremony in the school courtyard of St John Fisher Catholic School at Tumbi Umbi. The ceremony included the dedication of a remembrance garden and a memorial to deceased servicemen and servicewomen. I congratulate Caroline O'Shannassy, the religious education co-ordinator, on her involvement in the development of the remembrance program as part of the school curriculum. Other people who participated in the ceremony were the assistant principal, Mr Mark Fowler; the school principal, Mrs Carmel Healey; the president of the RSL sub-branch, Mr Tom Picot; and the parish priest, Father Brian Maloney. The excellent Remembrance Day program started back in 1995, when Paul Keating introduced the I Remember program throughout Australia. Tom Picot is the local co-ordinator, and five schools in the local area now have remembrance memorials in their school grounds and hold Remembrance Day ceremonies annually. I congratulate Tom Picot and St John Fisher Catholic School for participating in the program.
Mr FACE (Charlestown—Minister for Gaming and Racing, and Minister Assisting the Premier on Hunter Development) [4.18 p.m.]: I congratulate the honourable member for The Entrance on his contribution about the formal opening of Bateau Bay Bowling Club on 16 November by the President of the Royal New South Wales Bowling Association, Mr Terry Murphy. At the recent State bowling awards Terry told me that he was pleased to be formally opening the club. I told him about the club's dilemma as a consequence of the Government's freeze on poker machines in clubs generally throughout New South Wales. Unfortunately, Bateau Bay Bowling Club was affected by the freeze. The club submitted a substantial submission which was not loaded in any way, as were many other submissions.
Many of the matters raised in the submission resulted from the sound advice and guidance provided by the honourable member for The Entrance. The club succeeded in its request, and it has now been able to develop a bowling club that will be able to serve the community well for years to come. Over recent years many clubs, particularly bowling clubs, have moved away from providing their core business for members and bona fide guests. Bateau Bay Bowling Club has not attempted to do that: over the past 25 years it has catered for the needs of an expanding community. It is beyond belief that the club has grown to the extent that it has, with the infrastructure that is needed to service its community. I congratulate the President of the Club, Ken Long, as well as all former presidents and members of the executive, on bringing the project to fruition. I also congratulate the honourable member for The Entrance on the role he has played.