September 22, 2016
The South Burnett Regional Council has given Nanango RSL Memorial Services Club a three-year moratorium on its rates.
At Wednesday’s Council meeting – in a closed session – Councillors heard the RSL is in the process of restructuring, but needed some “breathing room” to carry it out effectively.
Over the past six or seven years, they were told, the RSL had gone through several upheavals which had reduced the club’s viability.
But the management team was confident they could revive the club’s fortunes, and was requesting Council’s assistance by agreeing to defer rate payments on the RSL’s two Henry Street properties for the next three years.
When the meeting returned to an open session, Councillors voted to agree to the club’s request on several conditions.
For its part, Council agreed to defer rate payments for three years from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2019, and not charge any interest on the outstanding rates for the deferment period.
In mid-2019 when the moratorium expires, unless a further deferment was granted, the club must either pay the outstanding rates in full or enter into a repayment plan.
If the club’s financial position improved sufficiently to clear its debts prior to the deferment date, then an arrangement should be made to clear the rates debt earlier.
And while the moratorium was in force, the club would be obliged to supply a copy of its Annual Report, including its financial statements and auditor’s reports, so the Council could determine that progress was being made to clear the club’s outstanding liabilities and become financially sustainable.
The motion to grant the moratorium was moved by Cr Roz Frohloff, seconded by Cr Danita Potter, and passed unanimously.
On Thursday, Nanango RSL secretary-manager Peter Nightingale told southburnett.com.au he was very appreciative for Council’s assistance in the restructuring, and had every confidence the club could return to financial viability in three years or less.
He said there had already been a turnaround in the club’s fortunes, with good crowds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and, just recently, an increase in Sunday trade.
The RSL was one of the biggest employers in Nanango and played a pivotal role in the town’s social life, providing a venue for meetings and functions as well as meals, regular entertainment and gaming.
Nanango was also a town with a strong community focus, and he was confident club members and the town’s community would rally to support the turnaround efforts.
Mayor Keith Campbell said the Council was happy to support the restructure because of the commitment of the RSL’s management and executive to ensure the club’s long-term financial viability.
“We are not forgiving the club’s debt, just deferring it to give them the necessary breathing room to put their turnaround plans into action,” Mayor Campbell said.
“Nanango RSL is an excellent venue, and from an economic development point of view it adds a lot not only to Nanango, but to our region as a whole.
“Anyone who doubts that just has to think for a moment what Nanango would be like if it wasn’t there.”
The Mayor said it was now up to residents to support the club’s efforts.
“I’d like to call on everyone in the Nanango community to get behind the RSL,” Mayor Campbell said.
“This club has contributed a lot to Nanango over many years. And with everyone’s support, I’m confident they’ll continue to do so for many years to come.”