Your monthly roundup of news, activities, deadlines and developments from RSLWA. Please keep an eye out for it in your email inbox.
COVID COVER FOR ANZAC DAY
RSLWA has welcomed the support of the McGowan Government, the WA Department of Health and WA Police for the staging of commemorative events for this coming ANZAC Day, Sunday 25 March 2021.
The traditional Dawn Service at Kings Park, the Street Parade through the Perth CBD and the Commemorative Service at the Perth Concert Hall will be conducted, but with some limitations given the current COVID-19 restrictions.
As such, the Dawn Service will be limited to a maximum of 10,000 people this year. To help manage the numbers and meet the requirements, people planning to attend the Kings Park event will be required to register online. Registration is free and will close once the limit is reached.
RSLWA Chief Executive Officer, John McCourt, said this year’s Dawn Service was a highly anticipated event following last year’s cancellation of all services, so it’s understandable some people may be disappointed with the limited numbers.
“The main thing is, we are looking to keep people safe so that everyday life can continue to be as normal as possible,” he said. “To enable as many groups as possible to register, a limit of six people for each registration has been put in place.”
Online registration is available through the RSLWA website under Events and News.
People who register for the Kings Park Dawn Service will be required to also register with the SafeWA app or physically sign in at the entry points. Face masks will be encouraged to help keep others safe, as will physical distancing of 1.5 metres during the event. Hand-sanitiser points will be provided on entry and throughout the dedicated viewing areas.
The traditional ANZAC Day Parade will proceed as it has in past years and, while there are no restrictions on numbers, people are encouraged to watch the ABC live telecast to help reduce congestion along the parade route. However, those attending are asked to log in at QR points along the route.
The Commemorative Service at the Concert Hall and the Gunfire Breakfast will also proceed as they have in the past, as both events are within pandemic management guidelines.
Of special note, given the pressure of meeting COVD requirements and keeping costs to budget, the single Sunset Service at Kings Park on 24 April will NOT take place.
Mr McCourt said the restrictions had also affected a number of events being planned by RSLWA Sub-Branches due to some understandable limitations in resources.
The above noted, West Australians are encouraged to again get involved in the community-based Light Up The Dawn driveway commemorations throughout the State, which were highly successful during the depth of the Coronavirus pandemic on ANZAC Day last year.
“We want folks to gather in their driveways, on balconies, in living rooms or paddocks at 5.50am AWST just as they did last year.”
CALLING STATE BRANCH
State Branch has moved to improve communications at the start of a very busy 2021. We ask, however, that you please be patient with the rate of calls we are currently getting, especially with regard to ticketing for various ANZAC Day events and commemoration.
ISSUE OF THE LISTENING POST
As of the date of the Sub-Branch Signal, The Listening Post magazine has gone to print and is scheduled to be published and distributed to Sub-Branches from Monday, 22 March 2021.
This edition of The Listening Post will contain instructions on ANZAC Day commemorations. However, please be aware that any changes due to COVID that occur from Monday 22 March will of course not be reflected in The Listening Post. This is unfortunate but we currently are living in a dynamic environment where more changes could be made.
FROM THE BOARD
A practice for the Sub-Branch Signal is a wrap-up of non-confidential matters and considerations by your RSLWA Board of Directors, who meet monthly. The latest meeting was held on Thursday 4 March 2021 with the following outcomes.
- The Board has seen the resignation of two Directors and the appointment of two new Directors. Resignations were received from George Jones AM and Ron Bradfield Jnr, which were regretfully accepted by the Board. New members welcomed to the Board are contemporary veterans Melissa Whelan and Tim Curtis. A new Trustee has also joined the Board as an observer, with Congress to determine the election of Doug Simpson to replace long-serving Trustee, Don Blair.
- A new advisory committee has been established to support the Board in an Audit & Risk Committee. Also, new protocols and procedures have been tabled to the Board on request, including a Whistleblowers’ Policy, a revised Commemoration Policy and a Board Etiquette Policy.
- The RSLWA Fundraising Committee has been re-established, with a mission to help fund operations of the organisation and other initiatives.
- RSLWA continues to be active as part of RSL National and has a seat on that Board. Some important changes and initiatives are currently on the table and we will be able to report outcomes in the near future. The substantive WA Director on the National Board is State President Peter Aspinall, with State Vice President Duncan Anderson, the Alternate Director.
The development of Veteran Hubs is considered an important ongoing initiative that is fully backed by the RSLWA Board. In all, there are plans for ten (10) Hubs – five in the greater Perth metro area and five in regional areas.
This process will take some considerable time, given the complexities of business planning and affordability into the future. For long-term affordability, it is important to have a business plan that addresses financial commitments and enduring income. As an overview, the key steps for the development of Veterans Hubs include:
- A meeting of all affected, related Sub-Branches in a defined geographical area in support of the Hub concept.
- A minuted general meeting of representatives of participating Sub-Branches to formally back a Hub.
- A plan is developed to have the desired hub established in a building or other structure and that may include local government, State Government, other community groups and, of course, RSLWA. This may take the shape of redeveloping land owned by RSLWA that may (or may not) include a Sub-Branch that is located on such land.
- The need for Joint Ventures with other business or community entities to ensure enduring income to a new Hub.
At its most recent meeting, the Board of Directors determined that not more than three Veteran Hubs are to be planned for over the 2021 calendar year. In priority order is Avon, South-West and Jarrahdale.
It will be critically important that for State Branch to liaise with affected Sub-Branches in order to pre-plan for Veteran Hubs. Funding for the hubs for 2021 is being met by RSLWA, with hopes of grant funding coming from the ANZAC Day Trust, which is a gazetted entity of State Government.
McGOWAN GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO VETERANS
The day before the recent State Election, the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, outlined WA Labor’s funding in support of Veterans. His media release contained the following:
- $5.63 million package to support Veterans and their families.
- $430,000 commitment towards support dogs for Veterans and first-responders suffering PTSD.
- Additional $1 million boost to the current $300,000 per annum through State Government.
The Premier said a re-elected McGowan Labor Government would significantly increase its annual allocation to the ANZAC Day Trust Fund by $1 million each year, building on the current $300,000 in funding to support Veterans and their families.
The boost to the ANZAC Day Trust Grants Program means more funding will be provided to ex-service organisations to support the welfare of Western Australia’s Veteran community and their families, including transitioning from defence into civilian life.
Ex-service organisations working on the front lines, such as LegacyWA and RSLWA, will now have the capacity to expand their existing support programs, create new ones, and look beyond single-year funding cycles. This commitment will secure this funding for four years.
WA Labor will also invest $430,000 to train up to 20 specialist support dogs for Veterans and first responders suffering PTSD, which will significantly bolster the capacity for these highly trained canine guardians to support our Veterans in need here in WA.
The commitment will enable a provider to offer intensive training, of between six to 12 months, to give the dogs, trainers and handlers the best of support, to undertake the Public Access Test and to assess dogs’ suitability accessing public space.
How time flies. We are on the administrative countdown for State Congress 2021 and Sub-Branches have been asked to respond to a number of administrative imperatives as follows:
All Sub-Branches received a second notice on Friday 12 March 2021 after an initial notice on 11 February 2021.
Please direct any queries to Executive Assistant Nola Keen on 92873799 or firstname.lastname@example.org