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RSL Vic realising the need for change

Letter submitted by Alan White, 28 Aug 2020

An interesting article, and good to see, finally, the RSL realising changes have to happen if they want to remain relevant to all Veterans, men and women. The issue I have is this use of the term-“evidence-based where possible”. What exactly is that supposed to mean? Are they talking about some research that has been carried out or will be in the near future? Are they going to reach out to Vets, in Victoria, to survey what they want, and through all ESOs to cover as much ground as possible?

I have seen this term become a catch-all phrase used by many organisations and individuals, without explaining what that is, almost a default setting. Similar to the use of the word “Iconic”, very overused.

The conferences that the RSL holds, and meeting with the sub-branches, would be the place to start with to gather “evidence” on what is needed or required by the Veteran community at large.

The recent fiasco around the supposed sale of Vasey RSL Vic, is a case in point. This occurred without any real reasons or considerations being given to what was really going to be achieved. I had put my point of view to the RSL, about this sale, as an individual, and Wellbeing Advocate Level 2, and there was no reply to my raised concerns.

If the RSL is so concerned about the number of civvies living in the RSL Vasey units, (which is similar in makeup to the RAAF Veterans’ Residence trust unit), then both organisations are not “selling” their services to the wider Veteran community, and other ESOs about their availability. The number of Vets I have come across who have not heard of either continues to puzzle me.

As those Veterans who have served for the last 15-20 years grow older, and for whatever reason may not have their own home or maybe reliant on a pension, then both of these facilities need to have a waiting list of such Vets. Otherwise, civilians will end up moving in and veterans will miss out.

My wife and I have lived in the RAAF residence units in Sandringham for the last 11 years. Unfortunately, we see civilians moving in with no connection to the ADF, simply because all ex-ADF do not know about them. The excuse from management is that they don’t want a waiting list. Well that is what the public housing has, so maybe if more ex-ADF personnel knew about Vasey and the RAAF units, then they would have many such personnel living in them.

I believe this is one area that has to be explored regarding accommodation for ex-ADF personnel, and immediate families. This would be achieved by working more closely with the RAAF residence trust, Vasey, Carry On And Legacy.

Stop working in silos, work collaboratively to find solutions that benefit the wider Veteran community, it’s that simple!

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