Senator Lambie sees case for reinvention

‘BE THE BEST’: Burnie RSL needs to reach out to the public and ‘be the best in town’ says Senator Lambie. Picture: Stuart Wilson.

MOVING into a new building would be the best thing the Burnie RSL could do, independent Senator and veterans’ advocate Jacqui Lambie said.

“They’ve got to reinvent themselves,” the former soldier said yesterday.

Describing the current premises as “dark and dingy”, Senator Lambie said the RSL needed to move into the centre of town and compete with other venues.

“If you want your business to thrive, you’ve got to be the best in town,” she said.

“They’re not reaching out enough to the public to get them to come in.”

She said “little RSLs” around the country were struggling financially, and needed to promote themselves as venues for families and even as nightclubs.

She said that was why RSLs were so successful in Sydney and Queensland, although she claimed many “RSLs” were not actually owned by the RSL any more, but just “carrying the badge”.

She also suggested there was a generational struggle within the RSL, with her generation against the older members.

“We need younger leadership in the RSL.”

She said Vietnam veterans were often outdoing RSLs in terms of advocacy and stressed the importance of getting younger veterans involved.

Senator Lambie said the Devonport and Ulverstone RSLs had been successful in bringing in the community, but that had not worked so well in Burnie.

The Coast’s RSLs should bring in a Mates4Mates program, she said.

Mates4Mates supports wounded, injured and ill defence force personnel and former defence personnel.

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