Bundeena RSL sub-Branch invests $2.75 million following fire insurance payout and sale of club property

Bundeena RSL sub-Branch officials say funds received from a fire insurance payout and sale of the licensed club property will be used for strictly RSL defined purposes.

“None of the money has been, or will be, transferred to either the state or national RSL bodies,” sub-Branch president Paul Griffiths said.

Mr Griffiths allayed concerns of some in the local community following revelations of misuse of money in the state RSL.

The sub-Branch was left with $2.75 million after initial demolition and rebuilding expenses following the disastrous 2015 fire.

Mr Griffiths said RSL (NSW) governance rules and the NSW Trustees Act required the money received from the fire insurance and property sale to be prudently invested by the sub-Branch trustees.  

“The interest and dividends earned from that investment can only be used by the sub-Branch for RSL ex-services charitable, commemorative and administrative purposes,” he said.

“Examples include assistance to veterans and their families, donations to various RSL charities such as DefenceCare and other ex-service organisations including the Invictus Games.

“The costs involved in providing commemorative services on Anzac Sunday, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, and in assisting the local seniors’ Gunyah Seaview RSL Day Club, are further examples.” 

Until 2016, the sub-Branch owned the club, which was largely destroyed by fire in February 2015, but leased it to a separate entity, Bundeena RSL Memorial Club Ltd.

After the fire, the sub-Branch began rebuilding the club.

It then decided to sell the property to Bundeena RSL Memorial Club Ltd, which amalgamated with Cabramatta Bowling Club, with the new entity financing the remainder of the rebuild. 

The upgraded and renamed Bundeena Community and Services Club reopened just before Anzac Day this year.

 Mr Griffiths said the sub-Branch had a formal agreement to retain RSL commemorations, including the daily recital of the Ode of Remembrance, and maintain the memorial wall, crypt, garden and flagpole. 

The agreement also covered memorabilia cabinets, office and storage space and catering assistance by the club at commemorative events.

“The sub-Branch is extremely impressed with, and very proud of, the new club and looks forward to a continuation of the longstanding relationship with the club and its administrators,” he said.