The price of liberty is eternal vigilance

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance

The price of liberty is eternal vigilanceThe price of liberty is eternal vigilanceThe price of liberty is eternal vigilance
Cessnock RSL Sub-Branch
70 Wollombi Road
Cessnock NSW 2325






Welfare and Hospital Visitation

Sub-Branch Administration (The Sub-Branch Hall and Office is open most Thursdays between 0930 and 1300)Temporarily suspended

Sub-Branch membership Dues remain at $35 and are due on the 1st January each years and are payable NLT 30th March to remain Financial

Commemorative Services

Member Social Functions

Cessnock RSL Sub-Branch Pipes & Drums.

Upcoming Events

RSL/Bunnings BBQ Fundraisers

TBA Bunnings have cancelled all Sausage sizzles until further notice.



Our members Dinners for this year are scheduled as follows:

2nd – Wednesday 15thJuly 20 at 12md – Lunch at the Caledonian Hotel

3rd – Wednesday 2nd Dec 20 – Evening at Leagues Club. 



Sub-Branch meetings are currently suspended because of the Covid 19 pandemic. However, Cessnock RSL Sub-Branch is encouraging all members, their families and friends and the local community to help us commemorate ANZAC Day by  standing in our seperate driveways or balconies at 0600 hrs  to remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Where possible we might sound the Last Post followed by 2 minutes silence and the sounding of Reveille.



Dear Members,

Each day brings new information and new challenges as we learn more about COVID-19 and the spread throughout Australia.

We have many vulnerable members at this time, and we continue to support them. However, our role is to support not just members, but all veterans. We, the RSL, must be the leader in looking after veterans and their families.

So, are we doing all we can to help veterans at this time? Are we being proactive in reaching out?

Below are some ideas on how sub-Branches can continue to provide welfare and support to veterans in their area, while still observing the strict health and safety measures necessary at this time. Many sub-Branches may already be doing some of these, and we encourage all members who have the capacity to keep them in mind. Sub-Branches could:

  • have a roster of members      answering calls for assistance and District Councils could organise a      roster if smaller sub-Branches need assistance with this
  • schedule calls to veterans in      need (not just members) to check they are okay – this was very well      received during the bushfire crisis
  • organise rosters for      food/grocery deliveries to help veterans and their families who may be      struggling financially
  • reach out to local radio      stations and newspapers outlining how veterans in need can contact their      local sub-Branch

In addition to the above, please keep in mind the support available to sub-Branches through ANZAC House and RSL DefenceCare: 

  • please reach out to ANZAC House      if you need additional financial support to be able to contact local      veterans, through the Support and Assistance Fund via: support@rslnsw.org.au,      or if additional welfare related financial assistance is required for a      veteran in need contact RSL DefenceCare: info@rsldefencecare.org.au     or 02 8088 0388
  • you can also contact RSL      DefenceCare for help supporting veterans experiencing homelessness or      other necessitous circumstances
  • provide contact details for      Open Arms to assist veterans who may need assistance with mental health      concerns: 1800 011 046

Please review DVAs information on COVID-19 for veterans and their familiesfor additional guidance on prevention and economic support during this pandemic.

If you have information on other ways your sub-Branch is supporting veterans in your local area, please email them through to support@rslnsw.org.au. And if there are other ways ANZAC House can be providing more assistance at this time, please let me know.

Together we can make a big difference and stand out in the crowd as the organisation that can help those in need.


Ray James
       Acting President




Dear       RSL Members,

Board Communiqué



     25 March 2020
     1300 679 775
     Board of Directors, District Councils, Honorary Secretaries, Members 



Recognising       current health protections, the RSL NSW Board met today via       videoconference.

Strategic Plan

     The board noted progress on the critical sub-Branch consultations and       acknowledged and thanked members for their involvement to date.       Regrettably, because of the COVID-19 crisis the following decisions have       had to me made:

  • To enable sub-Branch            consultation to re-commence after the COVID-19 crisis, the board’s            consideration of the final strategic plan has been deferred until            September.
  • The proposed strategic            plan budget (cost) will be maintained for consultation with members            but there will be no commencement of implementation next financial            year (July 2020) without funding and the board’s approval.
  • Considering the deferral,            delegates will be provided a detailed presentation on the final plan            adopted by the board in September at congress, and on the implementation            if a budget (funding) is approved.

FY 20/21 Budget

     Implementation of FY 20/21 budget measures have occurred, as planned.       However, the board noted the further impact of COVID-19. The 1 July 2020       ANZAC House organisational structure is on the website      and the board noted the risks associated with the many unfunded vacant       positions.


     The board considered several papers to deal with the health and economic       crisis. The following decisions were made: 

  • Due to the complete            collapse of Hyde Park Inn revenues with fixed costs remaining, and            pressure on other income sources such as fundraising, sub-Branch            contributions, and investment returns, the board accepted the            recommended immediate budget measures including standing down of            casual staff. The CEO would present adjusted budget options, under            several different scenarios, at the April Board meeting.            Sub-Branches and members should continue to monitor the news feed on            the website about COVID-19 impacts.

A business continuity plan has been put in       place for ANZAC House and staff are working from home.

ANZAC Day events       

     The following decisions were taken, after reviewing sub-Branch feedback       received through the DPC: 

  • Reinforced previous            decision – there are to be no RSL organised services,            commemorations, breakfasts, lunches or other activities conducted on            ANZAC Day in New South Wales.
  • Dawn Service – RSL NSW            fully supports the proposed nationally televised and streamed            service from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. This service            will be led by the Governor General and Prime Minister.
  • RSL NSW will support and            promote a nation-wide campaign focused on ANZAC Spirit with the            taglines #ANZACspirit and #StandTo. This will include a community            ‘stand in your driveway, facing the east’ commemorative act,            commencing at 6am.
  • RSL NSW will facilitate a            10am televised, virtual and streamed closed service attended by the            Governor at the Hyde Park Memorial.


     The board considered the feedback from sub-Branches via the DPC. The       following decisions have been made considering the COVID-19 crisis: 

  • There is to be no            state-wide ‘street appeal’. Purchased stock should be held over            until the Poppy Appeal.
  • Sub-Branches can continue            ‘hands free’ fundraising – through digital means such as websites or            Facebook, or as some sub-Branches are undertaking, through third            parties who can display and sell tokens, or place honesty boxes.
  • We are supporting a            nation-wide digital fundraising campaign, tied to the ANZAC Spirit            event under the RSL brand (not specific to any state). This is being            executed rapidly in cooperation with Victoria, Queensland and            National (possibly other states as well). It is anticipated that            this online fundraising campaign will raise funds to support all            charitable activities across New South Wales, not just RSL            DefenceCare and VSA which are both on the frontline. As donations            will be ‘pooled’ across multiple jurisdictions, donors will be asked            to identify their state to help with determination of disbursements.            RSL NSW will also be approaching corporate entities to seek support            too.


Additional       COVID-19 Impacts and Decisions

Leases and       Rental Impacts
     The board acknowledged the various sub-Branch and stakeholder approaches       regarding policy and direction around rent relief requests, or leasing       arrangements. The board considered the CEOs advice and adopted a       principle-based response and delegation.

     As part of a charity and good corporate citizen representatives,       sub-Branch trustees, in consultation with RSL NSW, should work with       clubs, businesses and associated entities to manage ongoing concerns,       even if they are required to close for a period. Accordingly: 

  • Generally, rent            flexibility should be granted and negotiated on a case-by-case            basis, with a deferral of rent agreement to be entered into to            ensure that charitable funds (represented by the deferred revenue)            are recovered at some point in the future from the commercial            business. This position could be different if the investment            premises is being used for non-commercial purposes such as respite            or affordable accommodation, and should be negotiated accordingly,            and in line with government policy.
  • Any forgiveness of rent            (as opposed to flexibility or deferral) will not be granted without            RSL NSW Board approval.
  • Where RSL sub-Branches or            RSL NSW entities are tenants, immediate steps should be taken to            seek rental forgiveness from the landlord (with no later date            recovery in recognition of the fact that RSL sub-Branches and RSL            NSW entities are charities) wherever possible. This should be            conducted in consultation with RSL NSW.

     The CEO was delegated authority to act with respect to negotiations on       rent deferral but will be required to seek board approval for rent       waivers or forgiveness.


     The board agreed that any outstanding SBAs can be sent to ANZAC House       without changes to office bearers and without signatures.

     The state secretary was also granted authority to apply discretion when       requested to make adjustments for routine sub-Branch matters coming to       the support unit during the COVID-19 crisis.

Other Matters 

  • Life memberships were approved.
  • A Remuneration Policy was            approved and will be posted on the website – setting executive            remuneration against charity organisation benchmarks; and the CEOs            Performance Agreement was agreed, but will remain confidential            between the board and CEO.
  • A revised Conflicts of            Interest Policy was approved.
  • Numerous sub-Branch            matters approved by the CEO under delegation were noted.
  • The board received an            update on the future institutional arrangements for Veteran Sport            Australia and RSL DefenceCare, after the expected June 2020 wind-up            of the RSL WBI Trust. All aspects were on track against what has            previously been reported, but noted there are now likely to be            impacts to be factored in from COVID-19.
  • A recommendation was made            to pass a decision regarding allegations of sub-Branch            maladministration to the Tribunal, ACNC and, pending further review,            NSW Police.
  • The board agreed to            review its decision-making framework and delegations structure            because of the COVID-19 crisis. The board recognised the likelihood            of short-notice meeting requirements to decide actions beyond the            CEOs delegation.



Ray James
   Acting President 


Sophie Ray
   Chair, Board of Directors 


We have had feedback from a number of sources that there is some confusion in the sub-Branch and auxiliary network about transitioning the auxiliaries to the new organisational structure. This circular is to be used in conjunction with SOP 8 which provides the main detail relating to the operation of an auxiliary. Below is further guidance on some of the key areas impacted by the new constitution and SOP.  

  1. Structure:

The RSL Auxiliary now comes under the direct responsibility of the sub-Branch to which they are attached. This will be for all administrative, membership and fundraising activities. The sub-Branch is a charity registered with the ACNC and therefore is the entity responsible for the fundraising and welfare activities of both the sub-Branch and the auxiliary. This structure provides the auxiliary and sub-Branch with clear areas of responsibility on matters of governance and compliance with regulatory requirements. A further benefit is that this arrangement fosters a greater need for coordination and cooperation between the auxiliary and the sub-Branch.  The auxiliary needs to appoint a coordinator and deputy coordinator to liaise with the sub-Branch and facilitate the activities of the auxiliary. Note, that these roles are appointed by the auxiliary, not the sub-Branch, and replace the previous requirement for an auxiliary to have a committee consisting of president, secretary and treasurer. Duties of the Coordinator and Deputy are covered in SOP 8 item 2.2.  

  1. Purpose:

The purpose of the auxiliary as stated in the SOP is to raise funds on behalf of the sub-Branch to support the Charitable Purpose. This does not mean that the auxiliary is excluded from other activities that support the sub-Branch or veterans in their community. There is no intention in the SOP to discourage auxiliaries from continuing any activity that supports the charitable purpose of the sub-Branch. Some auxiliary members provide added welfare support to sub-Branches, help in the planning and deliver of commemorations and provide meals to members at the conclusion of sub-Branch meetings. All these activities can continue under the new organisational structure if the sub-Branch and auxiliary deem them appropriate.  

  1. Name:

The SOP gives the sub-Branch the flexibility to call the auxiliary by any name, as long as it contains the letters ‘RSL’ and the word ‘Auxiliary’. Regardless of this, the official title of the auxiliary will be (Name) RSL Auxiliary and the members will be known as auxiliary members.  

  1. Meetings:

The auxiliary must have one formal meeting per year to plan and report on fundraising and any other activities. This does not mean that the auxiliary is restricted from holding more meetings if wanted or required. Instead, it gives the auxiliary the flexibility to meet and conduct business as it suits them.  Membership of the auxiliary does not come with an automatic right for auxiliary members to attend sub-Branch meetings. Service and affiliate members are entitled to attend sub-Branch meetings and auxiliary members may attend sub-Branch meetings at the invitation of the sub-Branch President.  

  1. Membership:

All members of an auxiliary now have their membership recognised by the RSL NSW Constitution. Given the structural changes outlined above, membership fees (not to exceed $12) will now be payable to the sub-Branch rather than to CCWA. All matters relating to membership of the auxiliary will be the responsibility of the sub-Branch including fees, member lists, renewals, disputes and awards.  There will be a change of auxiliary badge to reflect the name change to RSL NSW Auxiliary, however all existing auxiliary badges will remain current and will not need to be changed. Only new members will be issued the new badges.  

  1. Finances:

Given the sub-Branch is responsible for the actions and compliance of the auxiliary, it is important that the sub-Branch have oversight of the financial activities of the auxiliary. As a result, the auxiliary must close any bank accounts and roll those funds into the appropriate sub-Branch bank account. This should not affect the activities of the auxiliary in any way. The coordinator should work closely with the sub-Branch treasurer to ensure that the activities of the auxiliary are budgeted for and the income from the auxiliary’s fundraising activities are properly applied to the sub-Branch’s charitable purpose.  Auxiliaries must complete their 2019 Annual Return as per the instructions on the RSL NSW website. This will be the last time that the auxiliary is required to do this as the sub-Branch will now have responsibility for the management of the auxiliary’s finances. It should be completed exactly the same way as it was done in the past.  

  1. Central Council:

There is no provision for the Central Council of Women’s Auxiliaries in the new constitution or SOPs. This body has been replaced by a State Coordinator and Deputy State Coordinator who are responsible for supporting both auxiliaries and sub-Branches. This process mirrors the support given to the Day Club network. The State Coordinator is Pauline James and the Deputy State Coordinator is Sue Allen – both highly respected and experienced members of the former CCWA. We are also in the process of establishing an RSL email address for auxiliaries to use to contact the coordinators and other contact details will soon appear on the RSL NSW website. Pauline and Sue are there to support auxiliaries through the transition to the new structure and are in regular contact with ANZAC House to ensure they are providing the best advice available. If your local coordinators or sub-Branch are unable to answer your query, please ask one of them to contact Pauline or Sue to progress your issue.  Finally, as members of the League I would encourage all auxiliary members to subscribe to receive the email correspondence available from RSL NSW. There are regular member updates, president’s updates and Board communiques containing pertinent information about our organisation.  Thank you all for your patience over the last couple of years as we worked through these governance and structural issues and thank you for your tireless support of our sub-Branches, veterans and their families.  📷  

Jeff O'Brien

GM Member Services and State Secretary 



ANZAC Appeal 2020 – additional information

Please consider the information below in addition to Circular 01/20 and the accompanying FAQs issued on Friday, 24 January to all sub-Branch secretaries.  

In response to feedback from last year’s appeals, and the board’s intention to empower sub-Branches to continue to engage with their local communities, this year’s ANZAC Appeal, outside of the Sydney CBD, will not be conducted on behalf of RSL DefenceCare and Veteran Sport Australia. Instead, sub-Branches will fundraise in their local communities, keeping all net funds raised. Contributions from sub-Branches to RSL DefenceCare and Veteran Sport Australia can then be made after due consideration.  

Sub-Branches are registered charities with the ACNC in their own right. As registered charities, they must comply with their ACNC registration, and in NSW they should apply for a Charitable Fundraising Number (CFN) from NSW Fair Trading by completing this form. Sub-Branches may fundraise without a CFN, if they meet an exemption outlined by NSW Fair Trading, such as qualifying as a small fundraiser (being annual fundraising of up to $15,000 gross). A full list of exemptions can be found here.  

Whichever way a sub-Branch decides to participate in this year’s ANZAC Appeal, they are responsible for adhering to legislation and guidelines for conducting fundraising activities. This includes the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 and the NSW Fair Trading Charitable Fundraising Guidelines. As registered charities sub-Branches are responsible for all of their own compliance measures, including handling of donations and tracking of how funds are used.  

The greatest benefit from actively participating in the appeal is the opportunity for our communities to recognise the connection between their RSL sub-Branch and ANZAC Day. This connection is a powerful reminder of the heritage of the League, the significance of the commemoration, and the ongoing charitable work of the RSL across the nation.  

If you have any questions, please refer to the FAQs that accompanied Circular 01/20 and don’t hesitate to contact the sub-Branch and Member Support Unit.  


Jon BlackChief Executive Officer




   Everymans On Patrol Magazine.                                     

State Secretary's Members Newsletter 05/20 1st APRIL 20



Dear Members,

It is difficult to know where to start this newsletter as so much that we have taken for granted has changed in a very short space of time. ANZAC Day, sub-Branch meetings, functions and other social get-togethers are all on hold as we navigate the current health crisis. The impact of COVID-19 is huge, and it is vitally important that we all pay attention to the current health advice being circulated by the government. It is also important that we continue to support the veteran community through this crisis by using the available technology to check-in on mates and others who may not be coping with the new environment of social distancing and isolation. In the words of the Governor General, who made a specific address to the veteran community over the weekend, it is our duty to be "… there for each other, kind to each other and connected to each other".

As previously circulated in Member Newsletter 05/20 – 23 March, ANZAC House staff are all working from home however the services provided by RSL DefenceCare, Veteran Sport Australia and the Sub-Branch & Member Support Unit are still available through the normal channels. Continue to use the same phone numbers, email and postal address to contact ANZAC House as these services have been redirected to the appropriate team members.

Annual Reporting
As stated in Board Communique B03/20 – 25 March, the board agreed that any outstanding SBAs can be sent to ANZAC House without changes to office bearers and without signatures. Noting that the deadline for submitting your SBA was 31 March, can sub-Branches please contact the Support Unit if they require an extension of time? In recognition of the disruption to normal sub-Branch business, we simply ask that you provide us with notification of how long you require the extension for and the reason for the request.

Also, sub-Branches should be aware of an extension to the ACNC reporting requirements. In response to COVID-19, the ACNC Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns, announced a blanket extension for all charities who were due to submit their 2019 Annual Information Statements (AIS) by 30 June (this includes all RSL NSW sub-Branches). The due date for sub-Branches is now 31 August 2020. You can find out more on the ACNC website.

Please contact the Support Unit if any sub-Branch feels it will not meet its reporting requirements for this year.

RSL NSW is respecting social distancing and will not be conducting the ANZAC 2020 street appeal. ANZAC House is working with the other State Branches to promote anzacappeal.com.au.

All donations from residents in NSW will come to RSL NSW and be used to support the assistance we provide to veterans and their families.

If looking to direct requests to give donations, you can provide the details of the anzacappeal.com.au website.

Sub-Branch Model Constitution
It was the intention of RSL NSW to present the draft sub-Branch model constitutions (for a company limited by guarantee and an incorporated association) for consideration by the District Presidents’ Council (DPC) at their March meeting. Due to resourcing constraints and competing priorities this was not achieved and the DPC meeting was postponed in the wake of the current health crisis. Accordingly, the constitutions will not be formally commented on/endorsed until the DPC meeting in May, which will most likely mean the board will not be in a position to consider them until June given the DPC’s May meeting is scheduled to coincide with the board meeting.

Rent Relief
Regarding the recent communique addressing how sub-Branches could provide tenants (including clubs) with a rental deferral under their leases as a result of the impact of COVID-19, a draft checklist has been posted to the RSL NSW website to assist with expediting these requests.  It should be noted that all requests will be considered on a case by case basis in the context of the fact that rent received under tenancies across sub-Branches is charitable money and must be dealt with accordingly.

The process to be followed is:

  1. Complete the form available on the RSL NSW website
  2. Submit the completed form to      the Support Unit
  3. Each circumstance will be      reviewed on a case by case basis (from information on the checklist)
  4. If all is in order a letter      will be prepared by ANZAC House on behalf of the sub-Branch
  5. Letter executed and recorded

Please note that of particular consideration is the matter of conflicts of interest where sub-Branch executive/trustees are also on the Club Board. For those sub-Branches, the manner in which the conflict of interest has been addressed will need to be clearly set out in an attachment to the checklist.


To those who week after week make it this far, thank you very much for reading,


Jeff O'Brien
     State Secretary 

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