What are patriotic funds?

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Patriotic funds are a type of trust fund created after the First World War, when Victorian communities raised money to assist soldiers and their families. They provide welfare services and clubrooms for returned service personnel and their dependants.

When must you establish a patriotic fund?

You must establish a patriotic fund if you intend to collect funds, receive subscriptions, or request donations for any purpose related to any military service or duty.

It is illegal to do any of these things without approval from Consumer Affairs Victoria. Under the Veterans Act 2005, the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria:

  • regulates patriotic fundraising in Victoria 
  • ensures the proper administration and distribution of patriotic funds
  • controls trustees of patriotic funds 
  • approves transfers of funds from one patriotic fund to another.

Overview of patriotic funds in Victoria

There are now more than 600 patriotic funds in Victoria, administered by legally appointed trustees. These include: 

  • the Returned and Services League (RSL) 
  • branches of Legacy 
  • the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (Victorian branch).

Patriotic fund assets total more than $640 million and are collected in many ways, including: 

  • fundraising activities. For example, the annual Legacy Appeal, and the sale of badges and poppies to commemorate ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day, Vietnam Veterans Day and other Australian military milestones 
  • public and private donations. This includes donations to acknowledge serving members’ efforts in Australia’s modern military and peacekeeping activities.

The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria regulates patriotic fundraising in Victoria, under the Veterans Act 2005.

Changes to the Veterans Act 2005, from 22 April 2015, enable two or more patriotic funds to amalgamate. The changes also:

  • simplified the process for making interstate transfers out of a patriotic fund
  • enabled trustees to amend trust deeds with the Director’s consent, provided the amendment are consistent with, and do not alter, the objects or purposes of the patriotic fund.