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Board Communiqué for 23 June 2022

The Board met in person at the ANZAC Memorial auditorium in Hyde Park for the Board meeting commencing at 9:00am. Due respects were made to the fallen and an Acknowledgment of Country was delivered by the Chair.

The Board welcomed newly appointed Independent Board member Jim Hungerford and noted that Sophie Ray had been reappointed for a second term as an Independent Board member.

President’s Report

The President briefed the Board on his observations and extensive member feedback from phone calls and visits around the State.  Areas of interest included:

President RSL Queensland meeting 22 June 2022 went well. They discussed matters of mutual interest. Views appear to be closely aligned.

Sub-Branch and District Councils

  • The President attended various District Council and sub-Branch meetings and functions where he provided updates/ commentary on:
    – the Strategic Plan – the current status and rollout
    – RSL NSW membership – a significant increase in membership (predominantly online) April 500+ & May 390+
    – RSL NSW Sub-Branch Admin Seminars – Ivan Brisot facilitating and receiving very positive feedback from the membership.
    – RSL NSW challenges for the future.
  • The President noted an increase in interest from sub-Branches in the Morgan Stanley Investment product.
  • Auxiliaries – The President was made aware of new Auxiliaries. He noted that some sub-Branches are still unaware that the Auxiliaries are part of the sub-Branch and must not have separate bank accounts.

Ministerial/ Governor Meetings 

  • Don Spinks AM, Repatriation Commissioner
  • Meetings with NSW Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, David Elliott – these discussions covered the current and future of the League, The Royal Commission, and correspondence regarding AGM/Congress motions 2020-2021.
  • Proposed meetings requested and yet to be scheduled with both the Federal Minister and Deputy Minister of Veterans’ Affairs. These discussions will cover how the Federal Government could support the veteran community and the allocation of funds for Veteran Wellbeing Centres.

Other Meetings

  • Attended the Defence Networking Seminar as part of Indo-Pacific (Sea Power) at the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney.
  • Attended the ADF Rugby Games in Canberra
  • Attended the ADF Personnel, Veterans and Family Day at Luddenham – Penrith RSL sub-Branch initiative.
  • Met with Stephen Gloster, President Darwin RSL sub-Branch.
  • Attended Government House to meet Princess Anne and for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

RSL National 

  • Update on Nomination of candidates for the RSL Australia President. Greg Melick (Current President) and Tony Ferris (Former President RSL Queensland)
  • Royal Commission – Defence and Veteran Suicide.
    -RSL NSW Policy & Advocacy Officer Isaac Ohlin continues to support RSL Australia by monitoring and summarising the Royal Commission Hearing Blocks.
    – CEO RSL Australia and Isaac Ohlin will represent RSL at the RC Stakeholder Reference Group. Isaac Ohlin is organising the internal RSL consultation and developing the RSL brief paper for CEO RSL Australia.
  • National Gender Working Group has now met twice with RSL NSW Director Louise Sullivan as the representative. A key discussion has been on the issue of setting gender targets for Boards – 40/40/20. Next meeting 25 June 2022


CEO’s Report

The CEO’s report including the Program Management Office (PMO – Strategic Plan implementation) and operational reports were discussed, as were issues and actions to be taken, including:

  • Veteran WellBeing Centres (VWC).
    – Planning continues with RSL LifeCare – Veteran Services and Business Case templates are being prepared.
    – Awaiting guidance from the new Federal Government on how funding for VWCs will be allocated and the process for applying to be released.
    – ABS Census Data about “People who have served in the ADF” will be released on 28 June 2022.
    – DVA and RSL Queensland have resources to break down the data by state and postcode for use by RSL NSW and our sub-Branches.
  • MOU:
    – The Board approved the draft of the MOU with Clubs NSW and RSL & Services Clubs Association with some minor amendments
    – MOUs with Soldier On and Disaster Relief Australia have been drafted and are being reviewed prior to presentation to the Board in August 2022.
  • CFO Report and Business Performance Report – The Board noted the report, and the need to continue to monitor the cash position and the use of cash reserves until sub-Branch contributions to the Veteran Support Fund increase or other revenue streams are found.
    – RSL NSW will report another Operational Deficit for FY 2022.
    – The Board approved the Budget for the FY 2022/2023 endorsing an in-principle deficit budget with some explanatory notes.
    – Potential options for increasing other revenue streams were discussed such as:
    – Re-open discussions with RSL Queensland about RSL Art Union income
    – Fundraising campaigns– including Digital and a Bequest Strategy. DGR status to be investigated ASAP
    – Corporate Sponsorship.
    The Board agreed to stand up the Board Fundraising Committee
    – The Board noted the latest Investment Market Update from Morgan Stanley.
  • The PMO (Program Management Office) in ANZAC House is almost completely staffed with work having commenced on five key project areas to help deliver on the Strategic Plan.
    – Project Manager for Engagement and Membership – back to the market for recruitment
    – Recruitment of an Internal Communications specialist is in the final stages
    – Project Manager for Business Model commenced 14 June 2022.
    – District Rationalisation Project had its 4th Meeting on 20 June and the key outcome of a very productive meeting was for a Board paper on the 10 District rationalise concept model based on geographic location to be developed and presented to the RSL NSW Board in August for review and further guidance on the project’s direction.
  • ANZAC House Staffing – The recruitment process for Head of Legal is continuing within a very competitive market. A short discussion about remuneration was had and it was agreed to wait to give the newly engaged recruiter has time to see if they can deliver suitable candidates for the role at the current remuneration package.

RSL NSW Board Conflict of Interest Policy was approved by the Board (relates to the Board of Directors only – not RSL NSW sub-Branches – see Circular 41/21).

SOP Incorporation and Model Constitution

  • The Board approved the Model Constitution for a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG).
  • Board agreed that all sub-Branches will need to seek their own legal and financial advice if they choose to incorporate.
  • Communicating the Model Constitution and SOP will be critical to its success.
  • ANZAC House to organise a workshop with DPC to take them through the Model Constitution and seek their input and advice on how to best communicate to the sub-Branches.

 

RSL LifeCare Update

  • The Chair of RSL NSW provided an update on her recent meeting with the new Chair of RSL LifeCare.
  • RSL NSW Observer on RSL LifeCare Board – agreed to place the request on hold for the time being.
  • RSL Ex-Officio Member – agreed to leave as is. Requesting continuous reporting from RSL LifeCare.

 

District President’s Report – The Board noted the report and agreed that any issues would be addressed at the Joint RSL NSW Board & DPC Meeting later that day.

 

Sub-Branch & Members Matters

  • Merger with Australian Legion of Servicemen & Women – The CEO spoke to his written report and the Board noted that the merger process had been halted until key documents requested of the Legion by the CEO are provided.
  • Cumberland RSL sub-Branch Management Plan – The Board noted the recent progress and willingness of the sub-Branch executive to engage in the process.

 

Committee Reports

  • Young Veterans’ Committee

Sarah Young, Chair of the Young Veterans’ Committee, addressed the Board meeting in person.

  • 4 x Meetings held to date
  • YVC has received briefs from ANZAC House.
  • Brief discussion about the need to clarify terminology about what is a Young Veteran v Contemporary Veteran – what is the definition? Are they interchangeable?
  • The Board agreed to approve a YVC having permanent representation on the Veteran Services & Policy Committee (VSPC).
  • Board answered the request from the Chair of the YVC about what the Board would like them to assist with or look into. The YVC asked to look at what sub-Branches need to do/ offer younger veterans to encourage them to join RSL NSW and what is needed to keep them active and engaged.
  • Australia Forces Overseas Fund (AFOF) – Minutes were noted, particularly that AFOF is being wound up.
  • Selection Committee (including Life Members) – Minutes were noted, and Life Memberships were approved as recommended by the Committee.
  • Veteran Services & Policy Committee – Minutes were noted.

 

Tribunal Matters

The Board noted the Register of Matters before the RSL NSW Tribunal.

 

General Business

  • Congress.
    • The State Secretary provided an update on the planning underway for this year’s Congress on 31 October – 1 November 2022 in Newcastle
    • Guest speakers will be confirmed
    • Registration for Delegates will open in August.

After the Board meeting, the Board held a joint meeting with the members of the District Presidents’ Council, as it is required to do twice per year by the Constitution.