ACNC Works With RSL National to Resolve Misconduct Concerns
11 November 2016 at 5:17 pm
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is working with RSL National in the wake of reports that RSL NSW could be stripped of its charity status.
The ABC reported on Friday that the ACNC had, in a letter obtained by the media organisation, threatened to revoke the RSL’s charity status if it failed to comply with a payments investigation.
Senior RSL figures have been accused of sharing in more than $2 million in consultancy fees without properly declaring it.
A number have also been stood down while the investigation, by advisory firm KordaMentha, takes place.
In a statement following the media report, ACNC assistant commissioner David Locke would only confirm that the ACNC had written to RSL NSW to seek information.
“We receive approximately 60 concerns about charities per month, and we take them very seriously,” Locke said.
“Where required, we will contact the charity to request information to help with our enquiries.
“The secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act limit what we can say about compliance matters, however if we decide to take compliance action, which could potentially include the revocation of charity status, we will publish this on the Charity Register and on our website.”
Locke said in light of media concerns, the charity regulator was now working with RSL National, the peak body for the leagues, to resolve concerns about the charity.
He said he was encouraged by the level of cooperation shown by the RSL’s new acting-national president Robert Dick.
National president Rob White is one of the senior figures who has been stood down for the investigation.
“Mr Dick and the RSL’s national body have shown that they are committed to working with the ACNC to ensure that the beneficiaries and assets of the charity are protected,” Locke said.
Dick said the charity would work closely with the ACNC as they investigate concerns that the league may not be meeting its obligations as a charity.
“We have also agreed to provide the ACNC with the interim report findings from the forensic investigation being undertaken by KordaMentha, and any additional supporting documentation to assist them with their inquiry into these matters,” Dick said.
“The interim report is expected to be available to the RSL National in late November.
“We will provide whatever information we can to the ACNC to ensure there is complete transparency during the course of the investigation.
“The issues surrounding the RSL need to be resolved independently and swiftly so the organisation can continue with the work we have been providing veterans and their families for the past 100 years.”
The latest allegations of financial misconduct follow a report last month from the ABC that RSL NSW had been stockpiling millions of dollars in cash and investments instead of spending it on veterans.
Pro Bono Australia News contacted RSL NSW and RSL National. No one was available for comment.