President’s message to Clubs

Dear Fellow Bowlers,

Although only three weeks has passed, it seems a very long time since the Government introduced
social distancing guidelines to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the community. The subsequent
cancellation of all organised sporting events, social activities and the closure of Clubs is a period of
enforced hibernation for everyone. Many Clubs would ordinarily go into hibernation during the winter
months as the ‘grey army’ heads to a warmer climate, but all Governments are asking for people to stay
in their homes if they are not undertaking an essential service.

As such, it has not been possible for me to circulate among you to hear how your Club has been
performing during the current season or receive feedback on areas that the Region could do better to
help you manage the affairs of your Club.
However, I would like to reassure you that the ERBR Board is still functioning to manage the interests of
the Region and I am writing at this time to provide an update on some specific matters.
Annual General Meeting

First, the Region’s financial year concludes on 30 April 2020. Under normal circumstances an Annual
General Meeting (AGM) would be called to adopt the audited Financial Statements, approve Affiliation
Fees for the next financial year and appoint Office Bearers. The Region is governed by its Constitution
and the Incorporated Associations Act (“the Act”), and under the Act an AGM must be held within five
months after the end of the financial year.
At a meeting of the ERBR Board on 16 March 2020, it was resolved to hold the Region’s AGM on
Monday 25 May 2020. Given the current restrictions it is now proposed to schedule the AGM for later in
the year within the regulatory timeframes.
Affiliation Fees 2020-21
A consequence of delaying the AGM is that Affiliation Fees for the next financial year cannot be

At the meeting of ERBR Club Delegates on 2 March 2020, attendees were advised of the difficulty being
experienced in attracting volunteers to assist with the running of the affairs of the Region. In recognition
of the contribution by key roles – namely Championship Director and Secretary – the ERBR Board was
considering paying Honorariums in an effort of attracting the right individuals to assist with these roles.
To ensure the Region could meet the cost of these Honorariums, Club Delegates were advised that the
current Affiliation Fee of $4 per eligible member was likely to increase to as much as $10 per eligible
No decision on the Affiliation Fee for 2020-21 has been made as yet and the Region is fortunate to be in
a strong financial position.
Should the Government’s current restrictions not be lifted in time for the start of the 2020-21 season or
the bowling programme impacted significantly, then the ERBR Board will review the position of Affiliation
Fees and the payment of Honorariums to ensure that Clubs are not further disadvantaged than they
already are in the current economic environment.
ERBR Office Bearers

Also at the ERBR Club Delegates meeting on 2 March 2020, attendees were advised that a number of
current Office Bearers would not be seeking re-election for the 2020-21 financial year. The positions of
President, Treasurer, Secretary and two (2) Board members would be vacant.
With the delay to the Annual General Meeting, the incumbents will continue in the current roles, however
it is acknowledged that in the current operating environment there is little business that requires the
Board’s immediate attention.
Nonetheless, nominations for all Office Bearer and Committee positions for the next financial year will
still be accepted and Clubs are asked to give serious consideration as to whom they want to run the
affairs of the Region. In the event that there are insufficient nominations to fill the vacant positions, then
the proposed Honorariums may increase significantly should an external Administrator be appointed to
manage the affairs of the Region.
Bowls Victoria – Review of Region Boundaries
Prior to the Government’s social distancing guidelines being introduced, Bowls Victoria (BV) met with all
of the Regions on a confidential basis to discuss possible changes to Region boundaries.
The aim of the Review was to assist Regions in implementing a best practice governance framework in
light of a number of limitations, including:
• To cater for the declining number of volunteers willing to administer our sport;
• To remove one level of governance;
• To streamline administration; and
• To implement a governance model to future proof the sport of bowls.

It should be noted that BV is committed that all Regions will adopt the best-practice model by 30 June
2021. Some Regions have indicated that they are in a position to implement the best-practice model by
30 June 2020.
Without going into too much detail, the proposed changes also saw a number of Clubs transfer in to/out
of Eastern Ranges.
The ERBR Board formally considered the proposal and has provided its feedback to Bowls Victoria,
notwithstanding that the deadline for feedback has been extended to 30 April 2020 due to the difficulties
associated with COVID-19.
Further information will be provided once BV has finalised its Review and arrived at its preferred position.
2020 Annual Report

As mentioned above, the Region’s financial year ends on 30 April 2020. Notwithstanding the delay to
the scheduling of the Annual General Meeting, the Region is still required to produce an Annual Report.
In the Annual Report I report on the Region’s performance during the financial year as well as
highlighting key issues impacting the Region. In this regard, I am seeking input from member Clubs.
Specifically, I am seeking information on your Club’s performance in the following areas:
• Membership;
• Pennant performance;
• Facility management;
• Greens; and
• What is the likely impact of the Government’s current restrictions on your Club’s financial position
and community activities and is your club taking any steps to mitigate this impact.
I would appreciate this information or any additional feedback by the end of April 2020.
I trust the above information has been helpful in understanding the areas that the ERBR Board is
currently focusing its efforts.
As always, should there be any questions then please direct them through the Secretary and I will
respond in due course.
In the meantime, I would encourage everyone to keep safe and follow the current social distancing
guidelines. And, if you are able to, please stay in touch with those members within your Clubs who are
most vulnerable at this time. I look forward to catching up again on the greens once the current health
crisis diminishes.
Finally, while I have previously indicated that I would not stand as the Region’s President next year, my
personal circumstances have changed due to the current environment. In which case I advise that I
would be willing to remain as President should that be the wish of member Clubs within the Region.
However this change should not alter the fact that nominations for other Office Bearer positions are still
Kind regards,
Gordan Baker
ERBR President