State Secretary Newsletter – 28 March 2019

Dear Members,

 

Apologies for the late newsletter this week. The tempo is certainly building at ANZAC House as ANZAC Day approaches – I hope your local preparations are coming together well. Make sure to send all members to our website and Facebook page to read this newsletter and all communications from ANZAC House.

 

Membership Delays

Members will be aware there have been delays in the processing of new memberships and renewals this year. The primary cause of these delays is the receipt of payments from sub-Branches which do not exactly match the required amount. This has been exacerbated by the one-off reduction in the membership fee for 2018, which was voted on at Congress – as a result, we are frequently receiving payments ranging from $35 to $8 per member, which leads to bottlenecks in the system.

To be clear, the total membership fee for 2019 is $35, of which $27 should be sent to State Branch and $8 retained by the sub-Branch.

Overall, these are the most common issues that are slowing down the process:

  • Payments sent not exactly matching the amount required (which can include errors in transposition, e.g. writing $342 when $432 is required), or the total number of renewals submitted not matching the amount paid.
  • EFT payments not clearly naming the sub-Branch (e.g. the initials ‘CH’ could refer to any one of several sub-Branches – please use unique and unambiguous abbreviations if necessary).
  • Sending the sub-Branch or member portion of membership slips, rather than the ANZAC House
  • Stamping, writing on, or stapling membership slips – please use bulldog clips or paperclips (in batches if required) to facilitate scanning when needed.
  • Sending a list of members typed in Microsoft Word – if you prefer to type a list, please contact us for a formatted Microsoft Excel file, as this can be uploaded to the membership system directly.

Clearly, the existing renewals process is unacceptably inflexible and labour intensive at both ANZAC House and sub-Branches. We are currently trialling new processes that we hope may cutdown the workload for all membership officers across the League next year.

 

Free Travel on ANZAC Day

As in previous years, Transport for NSW will be providing free public transport to veterans and their families travelling to and from ANZAC Day services on Thursday, 25 April 2019. This will cover all trains, light rail, buses and ferries in Sydney and Newcastle, as well as NSW TrainLink intercity trains. On NSW TrainLink regional trains, return economy travel will be available at the price of a single ticket for those who book in advance.

Specifically, free or discounted travel will be available for veterans and current-serving members of the Australian Defence Force, their carers, spouses, children and grandchildren (including of those now deceased). To be recognisable to Transport for NSW staff, those eligible will need to be in uniform or displaying service medals, carrying a gold card (for war widows), or anyone carrying a letter of accreditation on the letterhead of an RSL NSW sub-Branch or another recognised ex-services organisation. You can view the initiative online here, including contact details for any questions about transport.

 

 

RSL DefenceCare Staff

With ANZAC Day approaching, the country’s focus will once again be on veterans’ welfare, making this a great time to introduce you to the RSL DefenceCare team who handle welfare and advocacy out of ANZAC House.

James is the Manager of Claims and Advocacy – he spent a few months after discharge working in Workplace Health & Safety before realising he needed to find something he cared about to recapture the passion he had had in Defence. He now represents veterans as an advocate at the Veterans’ Review Board. Having served full-time with the Royal Australian Regiment, including a tour each of Iraq and Afghanistan, James is still active in the Reserves. Outside of work he surfs with friends, and grapples with a never-ending house renovation.

John works as a claims advisor and has been with us for five years. He served in an infantry battalion in the mid-1980s but didn’t expect the experience would ever be useful in a future job. The role can be stressful at times, but the awareness that each member of the team is making dramatic differences in real people’s lives makes it worthwhile. John’s work in the superannuation industry following his service has now made him our resident expert on any superannuation issues – including the recently-announced inquiry into the DFRDB. He also runs the office footy tipping and is the self-appointed golf champion of ANZAC House.

Travis is a Claims advisor and the newest addition to the team. He has served full-time in the Reserves for close to 15 years, including a tour of the Solomon Islands. Looking for a change of pace last year, he eventually found this role and was intrigued at the idea of a post-service career working with veterans, for veterans (although, like many in the team, he had no previous experience with DVA). As a frequent visitor, Travis is the ANZAC House expert on Japan and Japanese language – or at least the basics.

Ian has been with RSL DefenceCare for nearly five years: two as a claims advisor and three as an advocate at the Veterans’ Review Board. During that time, he worked with the Western Australian branch of the RSL to help them to set up their own DefenceCare unit. He has military experience from the Rhodesian Bush War, has family in Perth and the UK, and spends most of his time outside work at the gym and playing Golden Oldies Rugby.

And finally, for now, Hayley is our claims advisor in Newcastle and the Hunter region, where she has been helping veterans and families for four years. She was fed up and unmotivated in her last job when she heard about DefenceCare and saw an opportunity to connect with her many current- and ex-serving family members. She keeps her sanity amidst the pressures of the job by immersing herself in her family life – with three boys in soccer and herself managing two teams, she reckons she earns the cheese and biscuits on the sidelines of Friday games, plus weekends four-wheel driving on the beach. Hayley’s visits to Sydney have become the trigger for ANZAC House trivia nights.

 

Independent Directors

Members should be aware that the recruitment process for Independent Directors to the Board of RSL NSW has now commenced in accordance with the RSL NSW Act 2018. While there is no provision for or against Independent Directors in our current Constitution, this is now a necessity under the law. The advantage of the change will be an injection of skills into the current Board, as well as an independent voice that can sound the alarm should past misconduct ever be repeated.

 

Gifts and Honorariums

In November last year the ACNC released a guidance note regarding gifts and honorariums and the factors a charity should consider when providing gifts or honorariums as a gesture of gratitude and appreciation for services.

The ACNC requested that ANZAC House distribute this guidance to all sub-Branches for their information and assistance. The note can be viewed by clicking here.

 

Sub-Branch Mailout

Hard copies of all 2019 Circulars, President Updates and State Secretary Newsletters were mailed to every sub-Branch yesterday and should arrive shortly. This will ensure all sub-Branches know what is happening across the League regardless of internet access but also contains a paper copy of Circular C04/19 for Sub-Branch Personal (Members) Accident Insurance Renewal. It is vital that every sub-Branch completes the attached form and returns it to Scott & Broad by Tuesday, 30 April 2019. Please note that cheque is the only method of payment that can be accepted.

These mailouts will take place roughly every month to all sub-Branches, with the exception of those which have explicitly requested no post.

 

SBA deadline

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. If you have not already done so, please advise the Support Unit at support@rslnsw.org.au or on 1300 NSW RSL (1300 679 775) of any expected delays, including a rough timeframe for submission.

 

Jeff O’Brien

State Secretary

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