Local RSL buildings under review as big audit begins

The Applecross RSL building on Kintail Road.
The Applecross RSL building on Kintail Road.

THE Applecross and Bicton-Palmyra RSL sub-branches face uncertainty this year as the state headquarters looks into possible building sales and sub-branch mergers to deal with long-term risk and liability issues.

An audit of the 36 buildings owned by RSLWA will take place across the next two years ,with the two local branches among 16 in the metro area firmly in the spotlight.

A letter signed by president Peter Aspinall was sent to all sub-branches outlining the need for the audit to remove the risk of voiding its public liability insurance due to long-standing defects.

The letter said the RSLWA’s property portfolio had suffered from many decades of neglect and under-resourcing due to an ongoing lack of funds.

A worse-case scenario conservatively estimates it would cost $20 million to bring up all the properties to the current code, which the RSLWA says is “clearly unsustainable.”

Eight options for the RSLWA-owned buildings have been mentioned, from taking no action if they are compliant, leasing the properties to a local government or community-base entity, redeveloping the buildings, selling the properties to developing shared facilities.

The single-storey Applecross sub-branch, with a 75-seat hall and kitchen facilities, is on prime land in Kintail Road and in the heart of a high-rise redevelopment zone.

Applecross RSL Sub Branch treasurer Wayne Smith, president Craig Chapman and secretary Barry O’Neill. Picture: Jon Hewson

Applecross sub-branch president Craig Chapman this week declined to speak about the state of the local building or its future, referring questions to state headquarters.

RSLWA chief executive John McCourt said they would not sell any buildings unless there was a better deal for the impacted sub-branch, but made clear that as the buildings were owned by the wider RSL any decisions would be made for the betterment of the organisation as a whole.

“There are no sales at the moment, possibly in the future but ;t’s not in the equation now,” he said.

There are 130 sub-branches in WA, with some based in local government facilities, community centres, bowling clubs and other sites not owned by RSLWA.