Welcome to January 2021. It is time to leave behind the horrors of the past year and the issues we have all endured nearly 12 months. We have learnt to live with the compulsory spatial separation that has so often tested our tenacity and patience to endure the necessary isolation. Our last meeting and opportunity to network was at the AGM in February 2020. It was in March that it was announced that there can be no Anzac Day Dawn service or street parade and the sub-Branch was compelled to cease all public gatherings and members meetings.
During this past year, the RSL NSW Branch has been restructured. The new State Branch has involved changes to the office administration, streamlining its operation to better suit the communications of the modern world. Late last year and under the provisions of the recently adopted new RSL Constitution, the directors of the new Board of Management and State President were elected. Now with its new constitution, a revitalized administration and Board of management now in place the supervision of our RSL can now address many of the issues and complications that have troubled the league in past times. The RSL of today is a very different organisation than it was at the time of its formation in 1919.
Up until the end of WW2 the League was the organisation that could serve as mentor, confidant and adviser to the many needs and issues of the service community. Of recent times many other services based and community operated groups have come into the welfare needs of the service community and of which the RSL is one. The RSL NSW branch of today is now in a very efficient operation well able to contribute to the needs of those serving and the ex-service Australians.
Of the past year, the restrictions that compliance with the battle with the invisible enemy, COVID, has imposed upon commerce, business, even our personal wealth have affected us all. The income streams of many sub-Branches have also been affected as has the State Branch asset base. In fact our nation has borne the brunt of that financial sacrifice. If the RSL is to continue its functions as the coordinator of many welfare programs for its members there will still need ongoing funding. It is here that sub-Branch and its members will have the challenge.
Funding is not the only challenge. The league also needs to involve the younger members of the Forces community. The league has a lot to offer all age groups of the service community. The league has commenced a program of recruitment. Its agenda is aimed at all members of the services. A program that will show the depth of facilities that are available in the many strands of its operations and a program of working with the many other service groups within our State.
John K Curdie OAM