RSL NSW President calls on RSL Clubs to support veterans

RSL NSW is a state branch of the Returned & Services League of Australia. More than 320 RSL NSW sub-Branches operate across NSW connecting veterans and their families to services and support such as wellbeing, homelessness and housing, DVA claims and advocacy, camaraderie and mateship, and commemorations. 

RSL NSW and its sub-Branches are a registered charity, whereas RSL Clubs are not. RSL Clubs are typically not-for-profit entities that operate licensed premises and are governed by different legislation than for charities, and different legislation from RSL NSW.  

RSL NSW and its sub-Branches do not own or operate any registered clubs, nor do they own or operate poker machines.  In other States, RSL sub-Branches may own and operate clubs and hold poker machine licences. 

Some RSL NSW sub-Branches may have an in-kind agreement in place to hold meetings or commemorative events at their local RSL or Services Club at no cost to the charity, however, they are completely separate entities. 

RSL NSW recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the RSL & Services Clubs Association and Clubs NSW around shared objectives to support veterans and their families. 

RSL NSW President Ray James said that gambling, and indeed society, has evolved since the Returned and Services League of Australia separated from clubs after the NSW Government Liquor Act Reform in the 1970’s. 

“The Returned and Services League did what it thought was right by allowing NSW clubs to register the letters ‘RSL’ in their trading name when they separated from the charity in the 1970s. 

“A lot has changed in terms of the role that clubs play in our community including how they support veterans and their families, and commemoration.  

“If any NSW-based RSL or Services club is not supporting their local RSL sub-Branch and the good work our veteran volunteers do for other veterans in their community, or the statewide veteran services provided by our subsidiary charity RSL LifeCare, then perhaps it is time that they considered a name change.” 

The Returned and Services League (RSL) has not owned or operated clubs in NSW since the 1970’s. The Liquor Act Reform at the time introduced a requirement for a separate incorporated legal entity to hold a Club Certificate of Registration. All clubs were required to incorporate as companies or co-operatives by law by 1972. This was carried through as a requirement of the Registered Clubs Act when this came into effect in 1976. 

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