A lawyer with experience in the army, air force and police force has stepped up to revitalise the Returned and Services League, writes JANE SOUTHWARD.
ON GLENN KOLOMEITZ’S DESK THERE IS A LARGE FOLDER THAT HE CALLS “THE BATTLE BOOK”. Yet while Kolomeitz has served in East Timor and Afghanistan and spent almost 20 years working in the army and air force, this book has nothing to do with strategy for armed conflict.
It contains a plan for a battle of a different kind – a plan for revitalising the Returned and Services League (RSL), which Kolomeitz, 48, started to lead as State Secretary and Chief Executive Officer on 1 September.
“I need to change the public perception of the RSL,” Kolomeitz says from the NSW offices in Castlereagh Street, just a short walk from the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.
“People think it’s about middle-aged men drinking beer, young men playing pokies, and maybe something to do with ANZAC Day. The league is actually about supporting defence and ex-defence personal and their families, providing services, and being there for the service and ex-service community.”
Kolomeitz says a key issue is falling membership. At the end of World War II the RSL had 145,000 members. After Vietnam, there were 132,000. Now, there are 40,000 members – 2,000 fewer than in 2013.