A Message from Mark Urwin, Chief Executive Officer Australian Sports Turf Managers Association

Good Morning,

A brief update for you on discussions overnight and this morning around Stage 1 shut downs and government advice.

There continues to be a high level of discussions between the Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC), Golf Australia, State Golf bodies and Government seeking to get clarity on specific Club and Course operations at this time.

Federal and State government announcements over the past 24 hours have outlined a range of changes to be put in place as we begin a period of extended shut-down of services.  This includes pubs, clubs (excluding bottle shops), hotels (excluding accommodation), gyms and indoor sporting venues, cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs will be closed from midday 23rd March.

Updated advice is that this covers many clubhouse functions such as Pro Shop, retail, events and Food & Beverage services however continuation of outdoor functions are not cited.  Over the past 24 – 48 hours, there have been some decisions by Clubs and facilities to suspend operations, while others continue to keep outdoor services such as the course open for social, casual and member play though competitions have been suspended.

Further announcements relating to specific State directions on what are deemed essential and non-essential services is expected prior to midday today.  It is also expected that Government Health departments for each State will provide direction relating to social and business functions that may remain open and those that are being directed to close down under new conditions.

Based on this updated information today, individual Clubs are likely to make further decisions on their operations and services over coming days as deemed relevant, which includes continuing to open or closing the course and decisions relating to course management requirements.

As previously mentioned, there has been no announcements specifically to Turf Management, though it is our position in discussions with governing bodies that turf management services should be considered essential to maintaining community infrastructure, and therefore continue following directive relating to increased levels of diligence on care, hygiene and public distancing.

There have been questions also raised relating to the cover of insurances for staff working through a imposed shut-down period, and as the first approach in these situations I would encourage your members to hold these discussions with the employer/club to understand individual circumstances and directives.

I would encourage all States, and all turf managers to continue accessing relevant State and Federal government updates, along with updates from Golf Australia and the AGIC to stay informed of the latest advice, and discuss the situation with individual Clubs and employers directly as to their workplace decisions.

If you, committees or members require further advice, information or assistance, please contact me or the team at any time over coming days as we seek to ensure the most updated information is available to members and State Associations to assist wherever possible.

Thanks

Mark Urwin
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Sports Turf Managers Association