Focus on social activities not pokies

Many Gymea residents would not be unhappy that Tim McAleer has recently departed as CEO of the Tradies to joins the Sharks Leagues Club. 

As reported in the Leader, Mr McAleer had been placed on indefinite leave for a number of months, the circumstances of which have not yet come to light.

Under Mr McAleer’s watch, poker machine profits at the Tradies grew to $37m per year. This is an astounding 85 per cent of club revenue and is out of whack with other similar clubs in the area. 

The Tradies are often lauded for their donations to the community. And, credit where it is due, they do contribute to many organisations across the shire.

However, the vast majority of these donations are funded via a gaming tax rebate. It is effectively a free shot to donate. The club, each year, has seemingly contributed barely more than this tax rebate amount which is then granted back to them. And the club pays nil income tax on their vast profits.

It is incredibly ironic that the Sharks have recruited Mr McAleer given that a former Sharks chairman recently suggested in the Leader that Mr McAleer rejected Sharks as a merger partner for Tradies and also that Kareela Golf Club should run a mile clear of dealing with the Tradies.

There is considerable scope for any incoming CEO of the Tradies to make more meaningful donations to the community, vastly in excess of present amounts.

And, if the new CEO is appointed from outside the organisation, there will be goodwill for them to engage with the local community about their plans for development in and around the club. 

It will also be an opportunity to focus on providing more social activities for members rather than just the poker machines and unwanted property development.

Sharyn Joseph, Gymea