Summary of District Presidents’ Council (DPC) Meeting – 22 February 2024

Note: This update is provided for the information of members ahead of formal confirmation of the Minutes of the subject DPC Meeting by Council members.

The DPC met in person in Sydney, with several Council members and invited guests to join the meeting online. Twenty-one District Councils were represented.

Due respects to the fallen were made by the DPC Chair.

President’s Update

Recently elected RSL NSW President, Mick Bainbridge, met with the Council for the first time at this meeting, providing insights into his aims for RSL NSW and his management philosophy.

Among items highlighted to DPC members were:

  • Relationship with the NSW Government
  • RSL NSW/RSL LifeCare relationship
  • Challenges and opportunities faced by the RSL NSW membership
  • The forthcoming Board Strategy Day
  • Issues with the ANZAC Day concerts
  • Relationships with clubs
  • Role of the DPC in interacting with the Board and ANZAC House executives

Issues affecting RSL NSW members and sub-Branch administration

RSL NSW Board Director and Chair of the Veteran Services & Policy Committee, David McCann, attended the DPC meeting by invitation to address updates and amendments to SOPs 2, 10, and 8 as a matter of priority. The intention is that this could lead to proposed amendments to the RSL NSW Constitution in due course, where required.

David provided insight into a potential process that will be the subject of Board consideration during the forthcoming Board Strategy Day.

CEO’s Update

The CEO of RSL NSW, Giles Hurst, attended our first meeting since his appointment and provided members with a guide to his approach and intentions. Among matters discussed with the DPC were the need to:

  • Continue the cooperative activities between the Board, DPC, ANZAC House executives and staff
  • Maintain effective asset management within RSL NSW
  • Make RSL NSW assets work for the long-term benefits of veterans
  • Develop and adopt processes to help sub-Branches maintain their vital activities within the community

RSL NSW Sports and Recreation Program

RSL NSW Sport & Recreation Program Manager, Jen Reynolds, provided an update on the program. There are currently 68 registered sub-Branches participating in the Sport & Recreation Program across 17 Districts, with the aim of increasing involvement to 100 sub-Branches by the end of 2024. Currently there are between 70 – 100 activities being delivered per month, making it the largest program of its kind in NSW.

The DPC undertook to provide encouragement to sub-Branches and Districts to participate. Sub-Branches are encouraged to contact Jen via to find out how they can get involved in the Sport & Recreation Program, including accessing funding for activities.

District Rationalisation Project Update

The Former Chair of the District Administration and Rationalisation Working Group (DARWG) provided insights into the work that was undertaken by the DARWG before its conclusion. The DPC received a briefing from the DPC Chair on the meeting which he held with the CEO, State Secretary and Project Management Office staff in November 2023. The current situation in relation to Goal 5.10 of the Strategic Plan is:

  • The DARWG has been concluded and will not reconvene unless required by the Board.
  • Any ongoing and future issues regarding sub-Branch effectiveness, compliance, and sustainability will be managed by ANZAC House staff in conjunction with District Councils.
  • The redrawing of District boundaries will only be addressed in the future after processes for determining individual sub-Branch compliance, effectiveness, and sustainability have been determined and undertaken.

The DPC also discussed the possibility of engaging shared support resources to assist sub-Branches with administration and compliance tasks.

Veteran Support Fund (VSF)

The DPC discussed the progress and procedures associated with the VSF for 2024, including the implementation of the Donations Oversight Committee (DOC). The DPC will undertake this role for 2024, and in situations where VSF initiatives are over-subscribed, the DOC will approach donating sub-Branches to discuss redirecting funds to other initiatives.

It was confirmed that VSF 2024 initiatives that carry over to 2025 will need to be re-submitted, but without the requirement for a full justification process. The submission date for VSF 2025 initiatives was confirmed as being required to be provided to the DPC before 23 May 2024, as indicated on the SOP 1 page of the Member Portal.

Sub-Branch concerns raised to the DPC

The DPC is currently managing the following sub-Branch concerns, raised to it through District Councils:

  • Affiliates and Auxiliary members voting/attendance rights and ability to stand for elected positions
  • Possible MOU between RSL NSW and NSW Local Government/Local Government Association
  • Commentary on uniform use within the Australian Defence Force
  • Policy on Nazi insignia in museums
  • Support requested for annual Defence of Sydney Commemorative Service North Head May (annually)
  • RSL NSW Star Veteran promotion
  • Quality of submissions for Life Membership and MSM nominations
  • Quality of Motions submitted to DPC for consideration
  • Issues with MyGov Aged Care non-recognition of DVA Gold and White cards for veterans entering aged care facilities
  • RSL NSW Support and Assistance Fund

Amendment to SOP 5

The DPC voted to amend SOP 5 to allow sub-Branches to appoint up to four Vice Presidents. The amendment was requested by North Bondi RSL sub-Branch and was endorsed by the EMDC and the DPC for referral to the Board.

New Strategic Plan Task for DPC

Following the 2023 update of the RSL NSW Strategic Plan 2021-26, the DPC will undertake a new task related to Goal 5.16 – Review of the role of District Councils, during 2024. The DPC is currently reviewing the Draft Terms of Reference for this review, including timelines.

Schedule for DPC Review of SOPs

During 2024 the DPC will, following agreement given by the Board, consider revision in priority order:

  • SOP 2 – Membership
  • SOP 8 – Auxiliaries
  • SOP 10 – District Councils

Review of DOC Charter

The DPC will undertake a review of the DPC Charter for Board consideration, in the first six months of 2024.

Future DPC Meetings

  • Thursday 23 May
  • Thursday 18 July
  • Thursday 22 August (Joint with Board)
  • Thursday 19th September
  • Sunday 27 October (Congress) (TBC)
  • Sunday 27 October (Congress – Joint meeting with Board) (TBC)