Port Kembla RSL members closed out of club's future

The future of the troubled Port Kembla RSL Club could be decided today - but club members are unlikely to get a say in what happens.

RSL NSW president Don Rowe said the state executive would meet today to discuss a range of issues relating to the Port Kembla RSL, including the future of the sub-branch and the fate of the club.

Mr Rowe said the decision might not be known today as it would need to be ratified by the state council which would not meet until late next month.

The fate of the RSL club in Allan Street has been up in the air since last May when the doors were closed and an administrator appointed due to outstanding debts of $900,000.

The sub-branch then began a campaign to get the club reopened and find a new tenant.

That process was almost complete when RSL NSW sacked the five-member executive in October over "significant" breaches of the constitution.

Mr Rowe said these sackings were the reason sub-branch members would not be consulted during today's talks.

"Unfortunately they didn't abide by the constitutional rights of the sub-branch in the first place," Mr Rowe said.

"Let's be honest, they lost their rights when the sub-branch was put into administration. The responsibility has to stop with the members to administrate and run their sub-branch properly and that had not been done.

"That's why the state council put the sub-branch into administration, which means all the decisions in regards to the sub-branch are made by the administrator and state branch and state council as well," he said.

Mr Rowe confirmed rumours that real estate agents had been taken through the club building in recent weeks but said that no decision had been made "one way or the other" to sell it.

The news follows a public meeting held outside the club yesterday where a call was made for RSL NSW to meet with a delegation from the sub-branch and to not make a decision on the club's future before that meeting took place.

Sacked vice-president Terry Wetherall was one of several former members of the executive who spoke at the meeting.

He was unhappy with the "heavy-handed" approach of NSW RSL and the treatment of the Port Kembla RSL sub-branch members.

"My view is if an RSL movement should be an epitome of democracy and a fair go, Port Kembla RSL sub-branch members are certainly not receiving that," Mr Wetherall said.

He objected to the possibility the club might be sold without members having any input and that RSL NSW had not communicated to members since the letter detailing the sacking of the executive in October.

"Any right-minded person would regard the actions taken by NSW as totally unacceptable in terms of communication with an organisation which is part of NSW," Mr Wetherall said.

"To be treated this way is, in my mind, unforgivable and unacceptable."

Mr Rowe said they had several meetings with the club's administrator who, he said, was in charge of the club.

Mr Wetherall also spoke publicly for the first time about being sacked in October.

"The allegations were about issues of administration but there is a view that the reputations of all of us have been sullied to some degree," Mr Wetherall said.

"We have verbally been told that wasn't the intention, to point the finger at people but there's a perception.

"And I am angered by that perception and more angered, as are the others, that this NSW RSL just refuses to meet and have this discussion."

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