Summary of District Presidents’ Council Meeting – 23 May 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-two District Councils were represented. 

The CEO, CFO and RSL NSW President attended the meeting, and the Secretary of the RSL NSW Young Veterans Committee (YVC) was present as an observer.  

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

CEO’s Update: 

CEO, Giles Hurst, provided the Council with his views on how the DPC could best assist RSL NSW in its goal to be positioned as Australia’s leading ESO. The CEO also sought a strategic approach from the Council in response to the potential findings of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, due to be released in September. 

Veteran Support Fund: 

As the primary focus for this meeting, the DPC: 

  • Assessed the Veteran Support Fund (VSF) process to date, including a review of the implementation of the VSF in 2024 
  • Considered the report of the inaugural meeting of the Donations Oversight Committee (DOC) held on 10 April 2024 
  • Considered charitable initiatives nominated for the VSF in 2025 

For inclusion in the VSF in 2025, the Council considered and agreed to the proposed ‘Tier 1’ categories and target amounts, and reviewed VSF Funding Proposals submitted by sub-Branches.  

All VSF Funding Proposals were evaluated by the Council against a set of criteria set by the DPC and included both due diligence on the intended recipient charity and an evaluation of the potential benefits to veterans and their families. ANZAC House staff provided significant support to the Council in the undertaking of this evaluation process. 

The Council subsequently approved prioritised initiatives for the VSF in 2025, to be forwarded to the Board for approval. (In accordance with SOP01, this process will be finalised and the new initiatives announced by 1 August.)  

Draft Discussion Paper on Membership: 

Council members are currently reviewing a Draft Discussion Paper about RSL NSW Membership, authored by Board member David McCann. This follows the identification by the Council of several areas that were previously contained in RSL NSW by-laws but have not been carried through into the current Constitution. The outcome of this review is expected to include recommended changes to the Constitution, the possible introduction of a POL02-Membership and a full review of the current SOP2. The timeline for this process is currently being determined. 

Recommendations for Congress 2024: 

The Council raised and discussed with the President and CEO a number of recommendations for Congress 2024, including the prior circulation of matters for debate and a changed approach to the utilization of time at Congress. The Council was reminded that the Agenda Committee will next sit in late August 2024. 

Sub-Branch concerns raised to the DPC: 

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

  • Chapters to continue receiving email communications from ANZAC House  
  • Following submission of a paper by the President Riverina DC, the Council agreed that the following Motions concerning mental health should be forwarded to the Board: 

  “That the District Presidents’ Council supports the advocacy by RSL NSW through RSL Australia for adequate and appropriate access to mental and physical health professional and facilities for veterans, regardless of their location in NSW”; and 

“That the District Presidents’ Council seeks that RSL NSW actively promotes an understanding of non-suicidal self-injury throughout RSL NSW and the veteran community in NSW.” 

  • Increased transparency around the delivery of RSL LifeCare Veteran Services, enabled through RSL NSW of sub-Branch donations  

Continuing concerns: 

  • 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 
  • Issues with MyGov Aged Care non-recognition of DVA Gold and White cards for veterans entering aged care facilities   

Schedule for DPC Review of SOPs 

The schedule of review for SOPs by the DPC in 2024 remains: 

  • SOP 2 – Membership 
  • SOP8 – Auxiliaries 
  • SOP 10 – District Councils 

Review of DPC Charter 

The DPC has no recommendations to the Board for review of the current DPC Charter. 

Future DPC Meetings: 

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