News National National RSL president resigns as release of governance probe looms

National RSL president resigns as release of governance probe looms

RSL then-president Robert Dick (center) in 2015 with Senator David Bushby and Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey. Photo: AAP
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The national head of the RSL has resigned amid a probe into governance concerns at the organisation.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission says RSL National president Robert Dick resigned on Thursday, a move it said “puts the interests of the charity and the RSL first”.

“His decision acknowledges the need for new leadership to build cohesion at the board level, and implement the significant change agenda ahead,” the charity regulator said in a statement on Friday.

Earlier this year, the commission ruled RSL National failed to comply with its charity obligations after outgoing president Rear Admiral Ken Doolan was gifted a car worth nearly $27,500 and $3600 in books.
The regulator also identified governance failures in NSW RSL and its aged care arm RSL LifeCare.

These included the misuse of funds by former NSW RSL president Don Rowe, and RSL LifeCare directors approving their own pay while charity funds were used to send staff to Liberal Party-linked functions.

In February, the commission ordered RSL National bring in an external expert to review the organisation’s board and governance practices.

The review by KPMG is nearly complete and a plan to address governance issues is to be finalised by the end of July.

“The governance improvement action plan resulting from the KPMG review will contain a clear set of recommendations to address current, critical governance issues and the need for a broader, more strategic process of reform and improvement,” commissioner Gary Jones said.