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12 Jun 2019

Local Fundraising to Return as Part of RSL NSW Reforms

Local Fundraising to Return as Part of RSL NSW Reforms

Ban lifted after two years as draft Constitution released

Wednesday 12 June 2019: All 350 RSL NSW sub-Branches will be able to apply to obtain the necessary authority to hold sausage sizzles, cake stalls, meat raffles, trivia nights and auctions to raise funds for veterans their families in need following a decision by RSL NSW to lift a two-year ban on the practice.

RSL NSW President James Brown said fundraising by sub-Branches was suspended in August 2017 amid concerns compliance failures could expose potentially hundreds of volunteers to penalties under the law.

“When it became clear during the Bergin Inquiry that we had an issue with fundraising compliance, there was very little data available to the new RSL leadership that showed the extent or nature of fundraising at a local level – it took nearly a year to collect that information from our sub-Branches,” Mr Brown said.

“The restriction on fundraising was necessary to protect our hardworking local volunteers from unintentionally breaching the law and risking hefty fines or, in the worst case, a criminal penalty.

“We proposed governance changes in 2018 which would have reduced these risks, but they were not acceptable to members. Now we have alerted our members to possible compliance issues and are providing them with guidance to better manage their fundraising at the local level.

“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.

Lifting the ban is part of sweeping reforms RSL NSW is 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,” Mr Brown said.

“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.

Contact: David Wolf 0411 111 787

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