Bowls NSW trusts that all members are safe and well and coping with these unprecedented isolation laws.
The impact of COVID-19 has hit not just only our sport but the world-wide community severely.
With an excess of 190,000 deaths across the globe and 3 million people affected it is frightening how this virus can spread with little regard to the physical well-being of individuals.
Australia has done an incredibly good job at containing the spread of the virus, since the first infection on our shores was made known in late February.
This is due to the strict social distancing, gathering and isolation laws now in place, however as is shown by the outbreak in northern Tasmania and within the Newmarch Retirement Village in Sydney, it illustrates how quickly one isolated incident can affect so many others.
It is why we must remain diligent and abide by all the protocols and laws in place.
Our thoughts and prayers are with any member and their families who may have been impacted by this coronavirus.
The Australian Federal Government and NSW State Government have enforced that all organised sporting events and all social sporting activities MUST be suspended. This includes all forms of social bowls, practice or roll ups, together with State legislation that ALL licensed premises be closed, it means that unfortunately, bowling greens, situated within those licensed premises are also closed, Please adhere to these regulations.
Bowls NSW, along with all other STA’s and Bowls Australia are united in the stance that ALL Bowling activity be suspended.
Bowls NSW has also been working hard with Bowls Australia and all other STA’s to formulate strategies to lobby both Federal and State governments and sporting regulatory bodies on a staged approach to allow easing of restrictions on licensed premises to allow participation of lawn bowls.
It is still too early to advise of any details, rest assured, we will let all concerned parties and individuals know, if we have been successful or not and what those stages will look like as soon as practically possible.
With nationwide and state numbers flattening, it is hopeful that we can get a decision in the not too distant future.
With that said, however, we anticipate that the opening of clubs, will not be one of the first restrictions to be relaxed and may even be one of the last and will more likely continue to have strict distancing restrictions in place, whenever they are allowed to re-open. There will still, also, be restricted numbers on outdoor gatherings.
This all impacts what we can do as a sport and Bowls NSW is working on multiple scenarios of how our season will look upon resumption of competition play and especially inter club events and state events.
As you can imagine it has been very difficult to affirm anything as decisions are made/rescinded/changed each week/day and even within the hour.
Suffice to say that the ultimate decision will be made by how effective we can be together to lessen the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community.
All levels of Government and Sports Associations across the country are acutely aware that if sporting clubs are lost then the whole community and society suffers and we at Bowls NSW are working closely with all other associations and government departments to lessen the impact and to do whatever can be done to assist.
One of those has been the State Governments Small Business Subsidy.
When announced it was inferred that bowling clubs would be eligible for this $10,000 grant, however, upon clubs registering for this subsidy it was found that public companies limited by guarantee (the great majority of our clubs) were precluded from applying.
Advice from NSW Government, is that clubs are now eligible to apply for this grant as long as they comply with the eligibility criteria of;
The Clubs payroll for 2019-20 year must be less than the tax threshold of $900,000;
The Club must employ between 1 – 19 full time employees;
Clubs must have suffered a reduction of revenue of 75% or more in a 2-week period, relative to the same period in 2019. As clubs are regarded as businesses in a highly impacted industry, a club will not need a letter from an accountant to demonstrate the reduction in revenue.
Eligible clubs are encouraged to apply and can do so here (https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-small-business-covid-19-support-grant)
Here is an update on the following items:
Bowls NSW Office:
The Bowls NSW remains closed.
Bowls NSW has successfully applied and registered for the Federal Government Job Keeper program and all staff have agreed to reduce hours and or days of work; take accrued annual and/or eligible long service leave; take unpaid leave, or a combination of all of these.
Whist working at greatly reduced rate, we are still available at intermittent times.
All enquires can be sent to [email protected] or you can contact, David Ellis on 0450 956 485.
Bowls NSW Affiliation Fees:
All affiliation fees have been deferred until further notice.
Members will still be eligible to play events, upon resumption and information is released to clubs regarding fees, any reduction that may be applied to those fees and their due date.
Bowls NSW Events:
Bowls NSW are working on contingencies for a resumption of all events, a partially reduced calendar or substantially reduced events.
Events previously advised of cancellation are as follows:
State Junior Championships; Brett Duprez Junior Series; Under 18 State Camp; Drakes Pride Junior Carnival; BNSW Indoor Qualifying; City v Country Series; All State Representative Matches (all divisions).
A definitive decision is still to be made by Bowls Australia on The Nationals, and that decision will be key as to what Bowls NSW events will be required or not required to be completed.
If Bowls Australia proceed with Australian Championships at a later time of year or early 2021, then Bowls NSW will need to complete State Championships.
NSW already has its qualification for The Australian Champion of Champion event (2019 NSW Champion of Champions) but in order to have a qualifier for 2021 Australian Champion of Champions, we will need to complete a Champions of Champion event this year or very early in 2021 (if required).
A decision on Pennants will be made at a later date, which will be dependent upon when clubs are allowed to re-open and what social distancing and gathering restrictions are in place at that time.
The decisions regarding the above State events will impact on the decisions required for all other State events (State Rookies; State O40s Pairs; Club Challenge; State U25 Singles; State Junior 7 a Side) and the time required to complete those events with time left in the year.
As soon as events are confirmed or cancelled and restrictions known, we will release all details regarding the calendar of events for remainder of season.
Bowls NSW is working with all zone administrations to help formulate what is required to be completed and likely timeframes.
Coaching and Umpires:
All courses are temporarily postponed until such time as clubs are allowed to re-open and what gathering restrictions are in place.
Once we are at the stage to be able to hold courses again, information will be released to each zone.
All Coaches and Umpires who are due for re-accreditation up to 31 December 2020 will have an extension until 30 June 2021 to complete their re-accreditation process and payment.
Club Assistance Programs:
All eligible clubs should have registered for Job Keeper Program by now.
For all information regarding Job Keeper please click here (https://www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/)
Bowls NSW urges eligible clubs to utilise this assistance program for all staff, especially any staff required to maintain greens.
Boosting Cashflow for eligible business – for information click here (https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-04/fact_sheet-boosting_cash_flow_for_employers.pdf)
Temporary Relief for Financially distressed businesses – for information click here (https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Providing_temporary_relief_for_financially_distressed_businesses.pdf)
Loan Guarantee Scheme and relaxation of lending eligibility – For information click here (https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Supporting_the_flow_of_credit_1.pdf)
AGM’s may be postponed – For more information click here (https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/find-a-media-release/2020-releases/20-068mr-guidelines-for-meeting-upcoming-agm-and-financial-reporting-requirements)
Small Business Grants (mentioned earlier), Payroll Tax Waived; Gaming Tax Deferred – For more information click here (https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/news-media-releases/covid-19-tax-relief-measures)
Bowls NSW wants to thank all clubs and members who have been understanding of the circumstances during this crisis.
Bowls NSW will continue to work to ensure we can start participating in our sport sooner rather than later and will provide further updates as they are finalised.