Inquiry launched into RSL charities over alleged financial misconduct
An inquiry under the Charitable Fundraising Act will investigate the RSL's fundraising activities following allegations of financial misconduct, Minister Matt Kean announced today.
The inquiry follows a number of questions about the expenditure of funds raised and held by RSL NSW, RSL LifeCare, and the RSL Welfare and Benevolent Institution (DefenceCare), each of which holds an authority to fundraise under the Charitable Fundraising Act.
In November last year, the RSL commissioned advisory firm KordaMentha who delivered preliminary findings about a number of potential financial irregularities.
The Hon. Patricia Bergin SC has now been appointed to head the inquiry that will examine all facets of the NSW RSL’s financial activities connected to their charitable groups.
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said Ms Bergin has been granted all necessary powers to conduct a swift and thorough investigation.
"We will get to the bottom of these allegations once and for all," Mr Kean said.
"These are serious complaints and the fact that they've allegedly been committed in the name of one of our oldest and most respected institutions is totally unacceptable.
"We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again.”
Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott welcomed the investigation and said he had already foreshadowed changes to the NSW RSL legislation to provide greater financial oversight, potentially including an annual report to the Parliament.
“I am completely fed-up. Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW as well as their sub-branches there is overwhelming support for the Government to intervene,” Mr Elliott said.
“It is heartbreaking to see the NSW RSL trashed in such a way and this is an opportunity to restore public confidence in this iconic organisation.”