News - President Update - Ray James at Congress

President Update – 4 November 2019

Members, as you may know by now delegates to the 2019 Annual State Congress have endorsed a new constitution. This is a significant milestone in the history of our league. The board and I are thankful to all those who have worked tirelessly on this major reform. Your league can now move forward and get back to our core mission of helping veterans and their families—with ANZAC House and sub-Branches cooperating on exciting new programs.

The CEO and staff at ANZAC House will now work hard with the District Council presidents to finalise the standard operating procedures (SOPs). These will need to be ratified by the interim District Presidents’ Council before coming into effect along with the new constitution on 1 December 2019.

This new constitution is your constitution. It is a living document that will soon be tested for the first time and will no doubt require amendments at future congresses. But it gives the strong structural basis to enable your league to grow and to satisfy its legal obligations under the new RSL NSW Act 2018.

We are one league. We need to continue to work together to ensure we can meet the challenges we all now face. One major challenge is our ageing and declining membership. We need to adopt new ways of getting those still serving in the ADF and those recently leaving to join our proud organisation. We need to improve our service delivery and how we engage people. If we can provide world class services in welfare, advocacy, support, transition, and veteran services, then we can grow our membership. We also need to work more closely with other ex-service organisations and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. We need to reduce our duplication of services in the ESO space and reassess what we do and how we do it.

There are a large number of charities across Australia—about 58,000. To be competitive we need to think outside the time-worn square. For example, even with the fundraising suspension now over, raising money just through donations is simply ineffective for the League as a whole. If we want to pursue big ideas, why not look at social impact bonds and collaborating more closely with government? We could be looking at more effective investment models, and other new concepts to improve our returns. Besides regulatory and legal obligations, we all have a moral obligation to ensure that we continue to deliver better services and support to veterans and their families.

I am proud of you all and the hard work you all do for the League. We can now focus on what our forefathers wanted us to do. We can now truly retake our place as the premier veterans’ organisation—the one that young and old veterans and their families are just as proud to be a part of.


Ray James
Acting President

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