Milestone moment for RSL NSW: Members elect youngest President and three young veteran directors

Today, RSL NSW has announced its new President, Mick Bainbridge. A former Special Forces Commando, Mick is the youngest President elected by members across the state – making this a milestone moment for RSL NSW.

Mick has been appointed to lead RSL NSW alongside three new directors joining the board. Like the President, all new directors are younger veterans and were elected by members of the League in NSW in the second one-member-one-vote election held by the organisation.

The four young veterans joining the Board have the support of and will sit alongside experienced leaders. All current directors seeking reappointment were elected, clearly indicating strong support for the current strategic direction of the League in NSW.

Over the past three years, President Ray James OAM and the Board of Directors have overseen a renewal of the League, with a focus on relevance to younger veterans and active pursuit of its purpose – supporting all veterans and their families, especially younger generations.

Their efforts resulted in the first membership increase in 40 years, as sub-Branches welcomed young veterans into RSL NSW, provided support and community for them, and empowered them to take on leadership positions to assure the future of the organisation.

RSL NSW incoming President Mick Bainbridge said:

“I am honoured to be elected RSL NSW President, and am eager to continue the excellent work of the organisation and its members by leading RSL NSW into the future.

“As a young veteran myself, I will work with members to continue to revitalise RSL NSW. Further engagement with all veterans will ensure that no one is left behind.

“In 2021-22, RSL NSW saw a 9.44% increase in members, and from 2022-23 this rose to 10.77%. Today, the average age of new members sits at 58, down from 78 just four years ago.

“The increase in membership reflects the ongoing need for the support provided by the organisation. I look forward to continuing to steer RSL NSW towards a positive future for veterans of all ages and their families.”

RSL NSW outgoing President Ray James OAM said:

“I have been honoured to serve RSL NSW as President and happy to know that Mick has been elected to take my place. I’m sure that the League will benefit from his experience and knowledge on important veteran issues.

“There are several moments I’m particularly proud of in the past three years – among them our first increase in membership in 40 years and my apology to veterans of Vietnam who were rejected by the League when they returned to Australia.

“I’m especially proud of this moment though – the work we’ve done to make RSL NSW a community for veterans of all ages culminates in handing over leadership to a passionate young veteran who can help carry RSL NSW into the future.

“I have no doubt that Mick will continue to build on our work to ensure that all veterans and their families across the state can access the support provided by RSL NSW.”

RSL NSW pledges to support veterans of all ages and conflicts, and their families. Since 2021, RSL NSW has been evolving to meet the needs of contemporary veterans.

Alongside its charity partner RSL LifeCare Veteran Services, RSL NSW provides support for veterans and their families including mateship, compensation claim support, employment programs, housing and homelessness services, and myriad other programs including the community-based RSL NSW Sport & Recreation Program.

RSL NSW is a member-based charity that supports veterans and their families. RSL and Services clubs, which facilitate the sale of alcohol and gambling, are a separate entity to the charity in NSW.

For the full results of the 2023 RSL NSW Board Election click here – 2023 RSL NSW Election of Directors

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