Father Riley, the Clubs Cash ….. and Payback?

In the controversy surrounding his endorsement of the registered clubs camapign against gaming machine changes, has Father Chris Riley down played the clubs generosity in donating to his charity, Youth off the Streets?

AAP reports that

“Fr Riley dismissed as “outrageous” claims he had sold out, saying his charity received $122,000 from registered clubs, or 0.5 per cent of its budget.”

The Daily Telegraph refers to a similar amount:

“Registered clubs donated $122,000 to Youth Off The Streets last year – 0.5 per cent of all donations made to the charity, according to clubs.”

The YOTS Annual Report for 2011 says that it received $122,325 from registered Clubs in 2010-11, and $117, 745 in the previous year . This in fact is only what it reports under the Charitable Fundraising Act as “fundraising activities” like dinners or raffles. This does not cover donations or in kind assistance.

In fact, one club alone, Bankstown Sports Club, gave YOTS a $100 000 donation at the end of 2010. Another club, Merrylands RSL, donates around $75 000 a year to YOTS.

In an interview on ABC News Radio, Riley told Marius Benson that YOTS would have recevied “certainly hundreds of thousands over the years”.

In 2009, Riley told the Productivity Commmission’s gambling inquiry that in under a decade, YOTS had recevied $3.5 million in donations from registered clubs.

This included $2.6 million from over 300 registered clubs under the community donation scheme administered in association with the NSW Government gaming machine taxes.

Indeed, Riley’s submission stands in stark contrast to the acres of distance he and the Clubs are trying to put between each other in today’s media.

In 2009, Clubs NSW reported that it had donated more than $1 million to YOTS for its work in the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

Eleven registered clubs are listed in YOTS 2011 Annual Report as major corporate partners of YOTS, including clubs with some of the state’s largest gaming profits, including Dooley’s at Lidcombe and Cabra Vale Ex-Servicemens Club.

Another YOTS document lists eight major club contributors and 22 club contributors, and it has previously reported that it has four clubs -Campbelltown Catholic Club, Bankstown District Sports Club, North Sydney Leagues Club and Clubs NSW as “Philanthropic Partners”.

Curiously, in that interview with Marius Benson, Fr Riley did not confine his dislike to the random politics of Andrew Wilkie, telling Benson:

“I just don’t like politicians who cut funding to me like Chris Bowen did the other day …..”

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