GYMPIE RSL ROW: Legal action has begun as the climax approaches of a three-year dispute between Gympie RSL sub branch and the RSL Club which leases its Mary St premises.
GYMPIE RSL ROW: Legal action has begun as the climax approaches of a three-year dispute between Gympie RSL sub branch and the RSL Club which leases its Mary St premises. Contributed

IT'S WAR: Gympie RSL sub branch and club face off

RSL ROW: Gympie RSL Club may merge with the Gympie Pines Golf Club and possibly other sporting groups members approve a move to new premises at this morning's annual general meeting.
RSL ROW: Gympie RSL Club may merge with the Gympie Pines Golf Club and possibly other sporting groups members approve a move to new premises at this morning's annual general meeting. Arthur Gorrie

GYMPIE RSL club says it plans to sue its landlord, the Gympie RSL sub branch, as an ongoing dispute affecting thousands of Gympie region residents, approaches crisis point.

Sub branch members were informed of the crisis at their annual general meeting yesterday.

Ironically, the sub branch meeting was held at the club's Orchid Room function venue.

Members were told the club solicitor had served notice of court proceedings over a poker machine dispute associated with club moves to establish another venue, not connected to the RSL, at the Gympie Pines Golf Club.

BIG PLANS: An artist's impression of Gympie RSL Club's proposed new golf club venue.
BIG PLANS: An artist's impression of Gympie RSL Club's proposed new golf club venue. Contributed

Members were told the sub branch was uncertain about the threat, because it understood the golf club proposal had lapsed.

Several called for an end to nearly three years of fighting over the future of the sub branch's landmark Mary St property.

READ HERE: The full timeline of RSL dispute

Proposals to use club income from Mary St to help establish a new and separate club venue, potentially with no RSL connection, are the most recent and most public of events which have made for trouble between the two separate but closely related groups.

The dispute involves hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property and now poses a potential threat to the community and financial interests of thousands of Gympie region residents, including members of the sub branch and the numerically much larger club (which includes sub branch members and a large contingent of "civilians").

Sub branch president Peter Maddocks, re-elected unopposed at yesterday's meeting said the club had now threatened legal action against the sub branch.

The sub branch had also seen lawyers and was considering its position.

Gympie RSL Sub-branch president Peter Maddocks.
Gympie RSL Sub-branch president Peter Maddocks. Rowan Schindler

He said some members were asking if the sub branch should continue to spend money with a club which was suing it.

Withdrawal of sub branch spending would involve large amounts spent on regular meetings and social functions, including the morning tea, sandwiches and drinks provided at yesterday's AGM.

One member called for "peace talks."

"This is how wars start," another said.

Wide Bay Burnett RSL district representative Colin Bell commended the sub branch on its service to members, as shown by a treasurer's report that half the sub branch's total income was directly spent on welfare services for members.

The Gympie RSL Club has served notice of court proceedings over a poker machine dispute to the Gympie RSL Sub-Branch.
The Gympie RSL Club has served notice of court proceedings over a poker machine dispute to the Gympie RSL Sub-Branch. Rose Reed

"The Gympie sub branch spends $200,000 on welfare services against an income of $400,000," he said.

"I congratulate you on that achievement," he said.

This made the sub branch one of the best performers out of 40 sub branches in his territory, from Monto, Gladstone and Mount Morgan down to Cooroy and west to Nanango.

But it was the financially and politically critical state of in its relationship with the club, which brought sub branch members to the AGM, attended by 77 members and an unknown number of guests.

Vice president Steve Smith said the problems were not unique and sub branch officials had learned from talks with Brisbane officials at Geebung and Gaythorne, who had successfully taken over the operations of what he called "rogue clubs."

He presented a timeline of events back to March 2015, which he said were relevant to "the club's planned venture to purchase the golf club."

Sub branch and club member Ashley Groves told the meeting the club was being forced to pay too much rent to the sub branch.

BIG DECISIONS: The crowd at last year's Gympie RSL Club annual general meeting.
BIG DECISIONS: The crowd at last year's Gympie RSL Club annual general meeting. Arthur Gorrie
Gympie Times


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