Waroona-Hamel RSL loss would be a “tragedy”: de Grussa

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Waroona-Hamel RSL president Tracey Fickling with the club's original charter from 1919.
Camera IconWaroona-Hamel RSL president Tracey Fickling with the club's original charter from 1919. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore

The future of the Waroona-Hamel RSL sub-branch is again a hot topic after being raised at the State association’s annual congress.

Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs Colin de Grussa, pictured, has weighed in on the importance of RSL sub-branches after attending the RSLWA’s 105th annual congress on June 12.

It comes after the Reporter revealed the sub-branch was at risk of shutting down if membership does not increase in the next few months.

The cancellation of this year’s Anzac Day ceremony due to the snap three-day lockdown was a big blow to the club, which has been part of the community for 102 years.

Without sub-branch members organising and holding local commemorations, Waroona’s Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services could cease.

Mr de Grussa said it would be a “tragedy” if the sub-branch was to fold.

“It would be a significant loss to the community if the Waroona-Hamel RSL was forced to close its doors,” he said.

“It would lead to uncertainty around future commemorations, in terms of who would organise these ceremonies and how well they would be supported.”

Hon Colin de Grussa, pictured here with Hon Peter Rundle, said it would be a “tragedy” if the sub-branch was to fold.
Camera IconHon Colin de Grussa, pictured here with Hon Peter Rundle, said it would be a “tragedy” if the sub-branch was to fold. Credit: Amber Lilley/Kalgoorlie Miner/The West Australian, Amber Lilley/Kalgoorlie Miner

At the RSLWA’s congress members discussed the importance of supporting veterans, maintaining a strong defence capability, attracting younger veterans and offering transition support to civilian life.

The importance of remembrance services such as Anzac Day and the impact of COVID-19 was also raised.

Mr de Grussa described the WA Government’s recent snap lockdown as “challenging”.

“The Opposition has been consistently calling on the Government to provide greater support for events impacted by lockdowns, so it could have been managed better,” he said.

The RSLWA is at the forefront of rolling out a veteran-central service model to deliver a simplified service model to veterans and their families.

The annual general meeting of the RSL in 1969 was presided by the late NR Walmsley.
Camera IconThe annual general meeting of the RSL in 1969 was presided by the late NR Walmsley.

Mr de Grussa hopes this model could help increase membership.

“With so many of our veterans and their families living in regional WA, it would be wonderful to see this model extended to regional centres, drawing on support from our very active regional RSL sub-branches,” he said.

“It is very important that regional sub-branches with such a great connection to WA’s history continue to grow and thrive.

“I encourage people in the community to look at the different memberships RSLWA offers to see if they can get involved.”

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