Whistleblower reveals Port RSL plans

Bevan Fermor, centre, a former member of the Port Kembla RSL sub-branch executive.
Bevan Fermor, centre, a former member of the Port Kembla RSL sub-branch executive.

A member of the Port Kembla RSL sub-branch's sacked executive has blown the whistle on RSL NSW's efforts to keep plans for the future of the RSL secret.

Bevan Fermor was part of the executive sacked by RSL NSW in October over "significant" breaches of the RSL constitution, as well as issues with record-keeping.

Mr Fermor was one of the sub-branch members who attended a meeting in Sydney on Tuesday that was called by RSL NSW to announce the fate of the Port Kembla RSL building and the sub-branch.

He said RSL NSW representatives requested they keep the details of the meeting among themselves.

"They were particularly concerned that we maintain some secrecy and not get the media involved," Mr Fermor said.

"They don't like us talking to the media at all - they were quite adamant about that. They wanted things held within the RSL and not dealt with politically or in the media. They said 'it's our business and nobody else's'.

"I said I wasn't happy with it being conducted that way. The only way we're getting any reaction from [them] is by making loud noises."

In the two-hour meeting, Mr Fermor said the sub-branch members were told that RSL NSW would call for expressions of interest in regard to either leasing or buying the Port Kembla RSL building.

He said the building would probably not remain an RSL club.

"It'd be a club of some sort that could utilise the facilities of the heated indoor swimming pool, the billiards room, the large auditorium and other existing facilities, plus providing an avenue for the sub-branch to still continue its meetings."

The sub-branch got a "good hearing", Mr Fermor said, adding that his worst fears hadn't been realised.

"It's a little bit better than what I expected. I was expecting that we were going to get our wrists slapped and told that they were selling the building."

RSL NSW president Don Rowe could not be contacted for comment.


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