State Secretary Newsletter – 16 October 2019
Last week I echoed the President in pointing out that financial assistance for sub-Branches to attend congress is available thanks to the generosity of 22 fellow sub-Branches and one District Council which have donated to the Support & Assistance Fund this year. For the full list you may refer to last week’s President Update (P13/19, click here). I have since learnt this list omitted Redfern sub-Branch, which made a large donation in September. My thanks to their members for helping to get more sub-Branches to congress.
Please remember that registrations for congress are due tomorrow, 17 October. You can register through our website (click here). If you do not have internet access, or need more time for your registration, please call the Support Unit on 1300 679 775 as soon as possible. We will do our best to accommodate late registrations to help swell the ranks in Albury.
Standard Operating Procedures
As preparations for congress have been underway, work has continued on the draft standard operating procedures (SOPs) which, if the new constitution is voted in successfully, will complement that document. A new draft SOP on sub-Branch property dealings is now available on the RSL NSW website’s constitution page (click here).
As I mentioned last week, members and delegates to congress should be aware there will not be a vote on the SOPs at congress. The new constitution will stand by itself, and work on the SOPs will continue up to the commencement date of 1 December 2019. In the meantime, it is important that members and sub-Branches pass their feedback on the drafts to their District Councils, as it will be the new District Presidents’ Council that will ultimately be tasked with reviewing and approving all SOPs in the event of a yes vote.
We have also continued to upload individual pieces of feedback on the new constitution and standard operating procedures to the RSL NSW website as we receive them. Responding comprehensively has been difficult due to the sheer breadth, depth and volume of the comments and suggestions we have received. However, you will now find brief comments from ANZAC House staff on how each section of the proposed constitution was amended between the first and final drafts in response to that feedback.
For those sub-Branches and Auxiliaries participating in the 2019 Poppy Appeal, your orders should arrive via courier by Monday, 21 October. Information packs have been sent in advance along with fundraising ID cards for your volunteers. Digital copies of the information are available on the RSL NSW website. If you have any questions please contact the Support Unit at email@example.com or 1300 679 775.
Participating sub-Branches may wish to have Personal Accident Insurance in place to cover sub-Branch members for injuries sustained while fundraising. If your sub-Branch does not have cover you can arrange it by emailing the Support Unit—it’s a small price to pay to protect your members by covering medical costs should an injury occur.
Finally, a reminder that free public transport will be available for current and former serving members of the ADF, their carers, spouses, children, and grandchildren. This includes all Sydney and Newcastle buses and ferries; all Sydney trains (including the new Sydney Metro) and light rail; NSW TrainLink regional services (half price single and returns tickets, available 10-12 November); and NSW TrainLink intercity services. Those eligible must be wearing an Australian defence uniform, displaying service medals, or holding a war widow’s Gold Card or a letter of accreditation on the letterhead of a recognised ESO (including an RSL sub-Branch).
Over the last twelve months we have been communicating with sub-Branches about membership fee subsidies. The Board of RSL NSW has resolved not to approve any further fee subsidies once a sub-Branch’s current approval period has expired. Not every sub-Branch has the financial capacity to offer this service to their members, and it was not considered fair that only some members are exempt from fees.
Please note that this does not affect the ability of a sub-Branch to cover the fees of members who are unable to pay their own for financial or other reasons, on a case-by-case basis.
Committee Expressions of Interest
The board has established a new Veteran Services & Policy Committee. Its charter is currently being drafted. It is envisaged that video and phone conferencing technology will be used to facilitate most of the committee’s work, along with some face-to-face meetings.
The board is seeking expressions of interest for an independent member to join the committee, as well as a pool of volunteers available to work on policy research, development and submissions. Those interested should send a short outline of their relevant skills and experience to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Veteran Services & Policy Committee’ in the subject line by 31 October.
Thank you for reading,