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Vic Minister Calls For Melb Clubs Merger

Thursday, 30th July 2009

Meanwhile Victorian Racing Minister Rob Hulls "has trumped the long-awaited report into Melbourne's 3 metropolitan clubs by calling for them to amalgamate," reported The Herald-Sun. Hulls "entered into the merger debate by writing to the chairmen of the metropolitan clubs" & "plans to meet Victoria Racing Club chairman Rod Fitzroy, Melbourne Racing Club chairman Peter Young & Moonee Valley Racing Club's Bob Scarborough to discuss a raft of issues, led by the need to form a single club". Former Racing Victoria board member Lindsay Maxsted was commissioned last November by the 3 clubs to prepare a report into their future operations, but while the report was scheduled to be presented at the end of June "it is not expected to be released until the 2nd week of August". However Hulls declared the 3 Melbourne clubs could not sit back & operate like "individual silos", noting bluntly: "Metropolitan clubs have to stop pussy-footing around & look at ways of saving money, streamlining administrations & sharing resources. Racing is competing more than ever with other forms of entertainment & racegoers want modern facilities, value for money, but they also want clubs working together to meet their needs & expectations. All options have to be on the table, including streamlining administrations. It makes sense to me that clubs look at amalgamation or merging a number of metropolitan clubs." Hulls emphasised Melbourne's metropolitan clubs "needed to look at synergies with country clubs, including having 1 membership for all city & country clubs", pointing out members' facilities at city & country clubs were "grossly under-used for much of the year. The industry should be doing everything it can for racegoers to attend the races. A single membership will do that." Hulls said the Maxsted report would be a "good start", but the momentum for reform "had to be maintained. It's pretty easy to file away a report & then say it's all a bit too hard. Clubs must look at the industry as a whole . . . and that may mean making hard decisions to amalgamate."

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