Gracemere RSL’s Bob Leitch feels the group is being disadvantaged by a forced move and will not reach its fundraising target through its stall at the shopping centre.
Gracemere RSL’s Bob Leitch feels the group is being disadvantaged by a forced move and will not reach its fundraising target through its stall at the shopping centre. Chris Ison

Anzac stall forced to move: RSL

BOB Leicht believes the Anzac spirit is unwelcome in Stockland Rockhampton.

The Gracemere RSL secretary has been volunteering to operate an Anzac stall in the shopping centre for the past six years.

But this year Mr Leicht fears they will not reach their target of $11,000 because of their position out of the way in the shopping centre.

Mr Leicht said management initially refused to allow the stall back this year, but after he and his wife Faye complained, Stockland staff relented and allowed them one small table for their hundreds of fundraising items.

He accused Stockland of being “not very patriotic and not very community-minded”.

But Stockland Rockhampton general manager Daniel Buchanan said the shopping centre’s priority was its customers.

“It is the second busiest shopping period of the year and our priority is making it more convenient for our shoppers,” Mr Buchanan said.

“There are two groups of people who we have accommodated in the centre who are both very welcome.

“Both of our groups are here free of charge and it is a community service.”

Mr Leicht said he and his wife had not intended to go public and risk their position next year, but felt as a community group their treatment was unfair.

“We’ve always had three tables outside the Woolworths bakery next to the soft drink machines,” he said on Thursday.

“Now we’re outside Mathers and we’re already down by $5000.”

In 2010, they raised $9000 for several schools, Rocky Flix, the French Film Festival and the 132 Army Cadet Unit.

Mr Leicht said since their move and reduction of table merchandise, sales were down by 50%, and they had received 60% to 70% fewer donations.

“Most people who have asked why we are not outside Woolworths have been appalled at management’s decision to move us,” he said.

“We’ll just have to find other means to raise funds for our welfare and schools’ resources budget.”



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