January 16, 2021

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Enquiry / Questions raised about the future of the Mossman Golf Club and the operation of the Douglas Community and Sports Club

4 min read
ENQUIRY / Questions raised about the future of the Mossman Golf Club and the operation of the Douglas Community and Sports Club
mossman golf club

NATALIE JOHNSON


KEY POINTS
• Uncertain future of the Mossman Golf Club
• Questions raised about the lack of donations to local clubs by Douglas Community and Sports Club
• Members query operation of the Club


An approach to the DouglasNews.Network by several frustrated and concerned members of the Douglas Community and Sports Club (DCSC) after the announcement Mossman Golf Club (MGC) would not be renewing memberships, prompted an enquiry into the overarching operation and financials of the organisation.

On 15 June 2020, John Carney, administrator of the Mossman Golf Club Captain’s Facebook page, posted a copy of a letter sent to members of the DCSC and MGC by President Anthony Dickinson.

The letter from Mr Dickinson advised the DCSC had, “decided not to issue renewal notices to our golf club members at this stage” due to the uncertainty of the MGC’s financial future.

The letter went on to advise DCSC had met with and held discussions with the Douglas Shire Council asking “for assistance.”

The letter also advised the MGC were not alone in requesting Council assistance; however, the Council had been “understanding of our situation and need for help.”

DouglasNews.Network understands representatives of the Mossman Golf Club will again meet with the Douglas Shire Council next week to discuss the possibility of the Council taking over the golf club as a community-owned asset.

In Australia, there are some examples of Council owned golf courses to be found. However, managing golf courses does not come cheap. Golf club membership hit its peak in Australia in 1998. The sport then experienced an average membership decline of 1.5% per year; therefore it is not surprising many Councils are choosing to sell courses rather than buy them, or, convert them to broader facilities which appeal to a more significant number of ratepayers.

The Mossman Golf Club Captain’s page is not administered by the MGC or the DCSC, both of whom have their own Facebook pages.

Club Captain’s page appears to be at odds with official pages. Mr Carney also posted on 15 June he had been, “censured at a Tin Shed Meeting earlier in the year for comments re the Tin Shed Elections.”


Mr Carney’s post attracted the attention of Jake Cockle from the Innisfail Golf Club. Mr Cockle advised Mossman to stay strong, noting Innisfail had been bordering on bankruptcy before taking action to pull all the members together. The club utilised volunteers from the membership and reduced running costs for six months, resulting in substantial savings and, “massive sales in the next financial year.”


The uncertain future of the MGC also prompted concerned members to contact DouglasNews.Network to cast an eye over the financials of the DCSC – The Tin Shed.


Figures for 2019 and 2018 were available on the website, and the 2017 figures were sent to DouglasNews.Network by a member who had obtained them from the Office of Fair Trading.


The DCSC turns over a total revenue of over $6.5 million per annum, with an average gross profit of just over $2.9 million per annum.


Concerned members questioned, in particular, the following expenditure fluctuations:

EXPENSES201920182017
Donations13177237499171
Manager & Committee567326322991
Seminars & Training992250791683
Staff Amenities & Expenses334413022128115
Telephone12437141786965
Travelling Expenses40144708053748
    
General Wages & Salaries268291226086203815

Of significant concern to members who contacted DNN was the seemingly small level of donations issued to sporting clubs and charities in the region from a revenue turn over in excess of $6 million.


The DCSC Constitution, which is available on the DCSC website, states that the number one and two ‘Objects of the Club’ are:
(1) to provide and maintain Club House facilities for Members and guests;
(2) to establish and maintain amenities for the benefits, social comfort and advancement of its members;


The issue of donations is listed as the fourth ‘Object of Club’. The second part of the object:
(4) To raise funds for the benefit of the club and for donation to approved sporting, charitable, patriotic, community purposes and other not for profit causes;


The order of the ‘Object of the Club’ may indicate donations to local groups are not the primary object of the club – an apparent, long-held perception by many club members and the general public over the years.


In the meantime, the future of the Mossman Golf Club remains uncertain. Douglas Shire Council, with a forecast $1.4 million deficit in 2019/2020 cannot afford to take it on, and it appears the Tin Shed cannot continue to fund the operation.


DouglasNews.Network requested comment from DCSC President Anthony Dickinson before publication who advised the Committee and Manager stood by all figures, which were audited by Sidcor every year and presented to members prior to the AGM, at which time every member was welcome to answer questions.


REFERENCES
https://www.afr.com/life-and-luxury/arts-and-culture/australian-golf-courses-hit-a-rough-patch-20141220-12b7cs
https://www.thetinshed-portdouglas.com.au/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Annual_Report_2019.pdf
https://www.thetinshed-portdouglas.com.au/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Amended_New_Constitution_-_January_2017.pdf


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2 Comments
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Ian Locke
6 months ago

The Combines club was totally out of debt up until they expanded and a lot of locals did not want this to happen, but went ahead, The club also donated to all the local sports clubs ,they then took over the Mossman golf club and once again we were against this, but the Committee voted yes. It’s haven’t been a local club since the expansion happened and the heart was ripped out of our once great fun Club. So we blame the Committee for this not the past council. Ian Locke.

Byron Kurth
6 months ago

Maybe thats where Council should build the retirement village they so desperately want. Golf, Pokies and cheap wine, what else do you need when you are retired?