29 July 2017
Dear Sub Branch Member,
You would already be aware that Rodgers Reidy were appointed on 12 April 2017 under Voluntary Administration to see the RSL State Branch through the financial difficulties that we were facing.
Yesterday, 28 July 2017 we had the Second Creditors Meeting in order to briefly describe a summary of the Administrator’s Report and to vote on the future of the State Branch. Voting on the future meant voting to approve the Proposed Deed of Company Arrangement (DoCA) for each entity.
The endorsement of Proposed DoCAs will see RSL’s creditors repaid more quickly and more fully than would be the case under a liquidation scenario. Staff entitlements will be paid first, by arrangement with the other Creditors.
For reasons not entirely clear, the National Branch voted “No” to the DoCAs, however, The National President has provided his full support to the Interim Board going forward. Despite the National Branch’s vote on the DoCAs, we are pleased to announce that the DoCAs were approved by the creditors to allow the RSL to continue to provide services to veterans and the wider community. Over the next week the Deeds will be drafted and signed off by the relevant parties so that the RSL State Branch can begin to trade again as normal.
A key factor was the support of another Ex Service Organisation, The Royal Australian Regiment Association of SA, who will purchase their ‘home’, the former Burnside RSL premises at Linden Park, at a full market price. This transaction will allowed the early settlement of staff entitlements, key to the DoCA gaining almost universal support at yesterday’s meeting.
Support from the State Government, RSL Care and sub branches will allow RSL and its related entities to resume trading quickly.
Local professional financial services firm Duncan Powell provided pro-bono support to the Board in developing the Deeds in close co-operation with the Administrators. Bank SA’s support of the RSL throughout this process is also gratefully acknowledged.
The RSL was founded in South Australia and officially marked its Centenary last year (2016). It has been a key institution in South Australia for the past 101 years. Despite its recent difficulties, it is clear that the overwhelming desire of South Australians is for it to continue to play a key role in veteran welfare, advocacy and commemoration, and in community life generally.
Despite the passage of time, RSL’s job is not over as we are engaged in the 16th year of our longest running conflict and our new veterans will inevitably require the support the RSL has been providing their forebears for the past 100 years.
While we have achieved an important milestone in our ability to move forward there is still quite a way to go. Over the coming months we will be implementing policies and procedures in order to better manage our funds and to ensure we are able to meet Governance Standards. In line with this we will be working on a new strategic plan to ensure that we do not get distracted from our charitable purpose. With the help of our extensive Sub Branch network and our numerous supporters we are confident that the RSL will have a future in South Australia.
On behalf of our 134 Sub Branches and over 12,000 members, the Interim Board thanks the South Australian community for the good will and support it has so publicly provided.