Local fundraising to return for RSL sub-branches

Bob Denner OAM has been secretary of the Dorrigo RSL Sub-Branch for 26 years
Bob Denner OAM has been secretary of the Dorrigo RSL Sub-Branch for 26 years

Dorrigo RSL secretary Bob Denner said he felt "midway between delighted and ecstatic" at the news this morning that sub-branches of RSL NSW can now apply for the authority to hold sausage sizzles, cake stalls, meat raffles, trivia nights and auctions to raise funds for veterans and their families.

It comes after a two-year ban on the practice due to concerns about compliance failures.

"We've had two years of really difficult times," Bob Denner said. "It costs about $5000 a year to run the sub-branch, with all the things that we do.

"We put on hold about three to four thousand dollars worth of public fundraising, so we had to eat into our capital.

"The other thing that they did was they said the Women's Auxiliaries could not transfer any funds that they had in reserve. So that money was embargoed as well."

RSL NSW said lifting the ban is part of sweeping reforms they are undertaking to help restore community trust in the iconic veterans' charity, including a new draft Constitution which was released today to District Councils for consultation.

"In the past two years, we've taken enormous steps to fix RSL NSW, which today is an entirely different organisation with professional staff, better governance processes and strong finance systems," RSL NSW President James Brown said.

"Sub-branches can now apply to the NSW Department of Fair Trading to get back to the normal business of raising funds for veterans and their families. That will be welcome news to thousands of volunteers across the state."

RSL NSW has developed information to help sub-branches navigate their way through fundraising and undertaken discussions with regulators to smooth the way.

"Today, we are focused on our mission of helping veterans and their families in need."

Other reforms include appointing two independent directors to the Board, reinstituting a Member Tribunal to hear disciplinary matters and rolling out new procedures to sub-branches on managing property and assets, holding ceremonies, governance and administration.

"With all of these reforms, the Board wishes to draw a line under the organisation's troubled past and create a stronger RSL NSW which is fit for today and the future," Mr Brown said.