State Secretary Newsletter – 13 March 2019
We’ve heard you need better communications about what is happening within the League. I will send these newsletters every Wednesday to update you on what is happening day-to-day across the League, including pressing issues as they come up. Meanwhile, the President will keep his updates more regular, delivering them every second Monday from next week. Circulars will continue to be issued as necessary advising you of crucial changes to League policies or procedures. To ensure that everyone can access this information as easily as possible, communications will also be published on the RSL NSW website and Facebook page.
ANZAC Day preparations will now be well underway in your sub-Branches. This year the ANZAC Day page on the RSL NSW website has been updated with relevant information and FAQs, or click here for the latest ANZAC Day Update sent to march participants.
Online applications are open for unit associations until 15 April to register for participation in the march. Unfortunately, no late submissions can be accepted, so please organise your application early. To make the march run as smoothly as possible, it is important that all marshals also register by 4 April. If you know anyone who may be interested in helping on the day (including groups), please direct them to our website.
A meeting of march participants (not including marshals) will be held at 10.30am on Tuesday 26 March at ANZAC House. Due to capacity limitations, RSVPs are required and we request that only one person per unit or band attends – please send the name of that person, their unit or band name, and a contact telephone number to email@example.com. A separate meeting of march marshals will be held at ANZAC House before the march, with details to follow soon.
Finally, we receive requests for media interviews with veterans each year. If you are willing to share your personal experience as a veteran through an interview in the lead up to ANZAC Day, or on the day itself, please return this form to ANZAC House by 4 April.
2019 ANZAC Appeal
Please remember that all sub-Branches and Auxiliaries that would like to participate in the 2019 ANZAC Appeal should submit an order form, list of volunteer names, and station access permit requests by 5pm on Monday 18 March.
As the President mentioned in his update to members last week, RSL NSW will not be ready to propose an amended constitution until later in the year after an additional consultation period with District Councils and members themselves. Additionally, with State Branch changing its accounting period to a financial year, the audited financial statements for ANZAC House will not be available until after 30 June 2019 (sub-Branches continue to operate on a calendar year). Rather than holding two congresses this year, the Board has therefore resolved to proceed with a single congress in Albury in the second half of the year. We anticipate this will be in October. I appreciate that members have made plans long in advance to attend a May congress in Albury and regret the inconvenience this change in dates will cause. I am confirming venue availability at the moment and will communicate the dates for the Annual Congress as soon as possible.
1300 NSW RSL
We introduced the RSL NSW Support Unit to ensure that every query to ANZAC House is received, logged, and completed. I understand there is some frustration at calls not being answered quickly enough. There are four members of staff who answer emails, post, and calls from members and sub-Branches. In January alone this team received 433 calls, 437 emails and 296 letters. Some of these issues are very complex and can take weeks to resolve, and many require the input of executive State Branch staff who are working on multiple projects. We are evolving the Support Unit as a result of your feedback, and by tracking the volume of correspondence in the past year we now have a better understanding of the resources needed in this area. Please be patient, and if your call is not answered immediately I recommend leaving a voice message, including a return contact telephone number, and a member of the team will get back to you as quickly as we are able to.
On this note, I’d like to introduce you properly to the Support Unit team. To begin with, Ivan is our Support Unit Manager. He has been with RSL NSW for seven years – also working in Finance and Business Services in his time here. He has previously served in the Army Reserve and as Treasurer and Trustee for Hornsby sub-Branch, and knows the League and its members extraordinarily well.
Casey is the newest member of the team, joining last November. She grew up on the Central Coast and, having tried both public service and private enterprise, she was attracted to the idea of working with a charity. She’s a keen netballer, and tries to get out on the road every weekend to build up hours up towards her learner motorbike licence.
Jane has served as an Appeals Officer with RSL DefenceCare and an Operations Officer with RSL NSW over three and a half years with our organisation. Her husband is currently serving in the Navy, based at HMAS Kuttabul, and she has a strong, broad understanding of both our organisation and of military life as a result. Her experience has been integral to setting up the Support Unit from scratch.
Troy came to RSL NSW almost a year ago. His father served in the Navy in Vietnam, and so he saw this role as a way to give back to those who had served. By night, Troy runs a music website called May The Rock Be With You, on which he shares his love of music through reviews and interviews with rock stars from around the world. He has now lent his voice to the new and improved ANZAC House automated phone greeting.
The team spends most of any given day answering or returning calls and emails, which involves discussing responses amongst themselves to keep our advice consistent despite each question being asked in a different way. The team consults regularly with other departments within ANZAC House, particularly the membership and legal teams, to find the most effective way to respond when they notice an influx of similar questions on a technical matter. This month they are focused on ANZAC Day preparations across the state, as well as carefully updating our databases with the latest details drawn from incoming annual returns.
Reminder to Submit Annual Returns
Please remember that the due date for submission of all annual returns (SBAs, AUXs, DCs, Youth Clubs, Day Clubs) to State Branch is 31 March 2019. We understand things come up that may make it difficult to meet this deadline, so if you think you may have trouble submitting your returns on time, please advise the Support Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 1300 NSW RSL (1300 679 775) and include a rough timeframe for submission.