This year it is 45 years since Canberra’s community clubs got a unified voice and there is no sign that it has lost its strength.
ClubsACT is the top association representing the interests of ACT’s not-for-profit licensed club industry, with a total membership well over 500,000 throughout the local region.
It was established on July 12, 1976 as ACT’s Licensed Clubs Association and originally included six clubs, including the Canberra Southern Cross Club, a country club, a workers’ club, and a few sports clubs.
In 1997, 34 clubs joined forces to push through approvals for poker machines.
Since then, the number of clubs on board has exploded, and in 2000 the association’s name was changed to ClubsACT.
At about the same time, it helped establish the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission, which regulates lotteries, slot machines, lotteries and trading campaigns on behalf of the ACT government.
The mission of the organization has been the same since it was formed.
In much the same way that a union serves an industry, ClubsACT is an advocate for countless local licensed clubs, giving them a stronger, unified voice on issues that can then be taken further up the chain.
Craig Shannon has been the CEO of ClubsACT since April 2021, although he is no newcomer to Canberra. He was born in the city as a sixth generation local and has spent most of his life in ACT.
“I came to my first club in Canberra at the age of 18,” he says.
“Several years later, in my 20s, I had the privilege of being elected director of the Canberra Labor Club, where I first began to appreciate the diverse role that clubs play across society and the challenges associated with it. to operate, maintain and develop a club. “
Craig served a period as Chief of Staff of the Western Australia Police Force before returning to the ACT as CEO of the People with Disabilities ACT.
With his previous work in the community sector, ClubsACT seemed a natural fit.
ClubsACT makes submissions and statements to the ACT Government and its agencies on all matters affecting the club movement. Licensed clubs come as members, while organizations that provide goods and services to such clubs can become partners.
At Coalface, ClubsACT offers a range of services to its members, including supply chain services, workplace relations advice and administrative assistance.
It also provides additional publications, seminars, and networking events, including its annual Clubs & Community Awards dinner to recognize and celebrate the achievements of local clubs.
Craig describes 2021 as “an interesting time” where COVID-19 has left clubs in need of a helping hand.
“In these times, the important role that members of ClubsACT play in supporting the spirit of society in Canberra is even more fundamental and will be important for the restoration of our society on the other hand,” he says.
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“The role that community clubs play as meeting and gathering places for their members, families and their friends contributes greatly to our community spirit and cohesion.”
Looking to the future, ClubsACT hopes to pursue greater emphasis on mental health and well-being.
Pen was put on paper regarding this when ClubsACT signed a memorandum of understanding with the ACT branch of the Pharmacy Guild in August 2021. The agreement is primarily about helping the guild’s 75 local pharmacies to play a role in the rollout of COVID-19. the vaccine, but ideally it will flourish for long-term results in the healthcare sector.
Craig says ClubsACT has also turned its attention to the areas of education and employment.
Visit ClubsACT for more information on what ClubsACT does and how to get involved.