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State Secretary Newsletter – 4 April 2019

Dear Members,


District Council Meeting

On Monday and Tuesday this week, the Board of RSL NSW hosted a meeting of District Council Presidents and Honorary Secretaries at ANZAC House to begin consultation on the specific problems facing the League, and possible first steps towards fixing them. The meeting was a highly positive experience and the first step in renewing the role of the Districts in both the constitutional review process, and day-to-day League operations as a whole.

Your DC leaders have agreed that they should be the sub-Branches’ first point of call for information and answers to questions rather than ANZAC House. The District Councils will be consulted and kept informed of key information affecting sub-Branches, including progress towards the next draft of the Constitution. By decentralising knowledge, we can keep the entire League better informed and make sure answers are received faster than is currently possible. The previous Constitution presented to Delegates at the Extraordinary Congress in December attempted to carve out a strong role for the regions, albeit unsuccessfully. But this is crucial to decentralising our structure and keeping members in control. And importantly, this idea needs action to back it up.


Ministerial Visit to ANZAC House

Last week the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester, and the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Liz Cosson AM CSC, visited ANZAC House to discuss reforms at DVA and the work of RSL NSW through RSL DefenceCare and Veteran Sport Australia.



Many will recall a story reported in the media last month regarding local councils charging sub-Branches for traffic management costs to hold ANZAC Day marches in local communities. After much feedback, including the President reaching out to Transport for NSW, I understand that councils around the state have reversed these plans. However, if your sub-Branch does face further requests for a financial contribution towards staging commemorations this ANZAC Day, please contact your District Council for assistance.

The latest progress update for 2019 ANZAC Day commemorations in Sydney is available here.


Reveille Misprint

You may have noticed a misprint in the recent March edition of Reveille. On the Sydney ANZAC Day March Map across pages 20-21, the numbers marking the form-up points for several contingents are missing their second digits (specifically points 40, 44, 45, 46, 48, and 49). The correct version of the map is available on the RSL NSW website here.


Quest Albury Bookings

RSL NSW has approached Quest Apartment Hotels to have all bookings at Quest Albury and Quest Albury on Townsend that were originally made for May moved to October to reflect the new State Congress dates of 27-30 October 2019. Quest will be sending a confirmation email to all those who made such bookings. If you do not receive an email by the end of next week, please directly contact Quest Albury on 02 6058 0900 or Quest Albury on Townsend 02 6058 1100.


RSL DefenceCare Staff

Last week I introduced you to half the RSL DefenceCare Claims & Advocacy team, whose important work helping veterans navigate the claims and appeals processes at DVA and the Veterans’ Review Board will again be in the spotlight in the lead-up to ANZAC Day. District Council representatives met many members of the team this week, but for those of you who have never dealt with them in person, here are the rest:

Dean joined us as our Advocacy Coordinator after several years working with Legacy. He was drawn to the opportunity of being a part of the holistic service that was then being built at DefenceCare. He coordinates all advocacy work, liaising frequently with contacts across the advocacy sector, including at the VRB. Many of our clients come to us and in poor mental health and cut off from the support of friends and family – perhaps Dean’s most important role is to ensure all clients feel connected and cared for throughout the process. He feels privileged to be able to travel with people on the journey towards recovery from their darkest days, and to see the real changes in individuals and families as they pass through DefenceCare.

Angus is our Senior Claims Advisor. He completed a tour of Afghanistan with the Royal Australian Regiment and now serves in the Army Reserve. He has been with DefenceCare for more than three years, developing a reputation for diligence and reticence in equal parts. Like quite a few in the office, he spends his weekends surfing – although, unique to himself, he also dabbles in amateur spoken word poetry slams.

Daniel is the final Claims Advisor on the team. Already having many family members in Defence, Daniel enlisted with his son and served in a cavalry unit himself. With a background spanning seemingly every industry under the sun, Daniel eventually joined us three years ago. He takes golf and the gym very seriously, but much more importantly he brings to the office his services as a trivia expert.

And finally, Wayne is our Client Services Manager, responsible for overseeing and maintaining professional standards for RSL DefenceCare. He has a long history in the community support sector: while working full-time in the UK he began volunteering with three charities offering crisis support and, realising he had discovered a passion, set out to study counselling and social work. Eventually back in Australia, he worked with families of those in custody, and inmates transitioning to life outside the corrections system. DefenceCare offered a welcome change of pace and a connection to his father who served in New Guinea. Wayne commutes to Sydney from Wollongong every day, his silver lining being weekend walks by the beach.

Next to Claims & Advocacy, RSL DefenceCare also offers welfare support to veterans and their families in crisis through our Community Support team, who will be profiled in upcoming newsletters.


Jeff O’Brien

State Secretary

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