Maryborough RSL sub-branch President and Vietnam War veteran Paul Coleman speaks at the 2020 Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony at Maryborough RSL. Photo: Stuart Fast
Maryborough RSL sub-branch President and Vietnam War veteran Paul Coleman speaks at the 2020 Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony at Maryborough RSL. Photo: Stuart Fast

Covid loan buys beer barrels, hope as ‘social centre’ saved

A LOAN, made to the Maryborough RSL, saved the business when it was forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority gave the RSL a COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan, making sure the business's 80 staff and loyal customers could return as soon as it was safe to reopen.

The loans, worth up to $250,000, were given to businesses and organisations impacted by the virus with carry-on expenses such as employee wages, rent, rates and other expenditure.

The Maryborough RSL is among the oldest of its kind in Queensland.

It was established in 1918 to support returned soldiers.

With 13,000 members, the RSL is among the biggest employers in the city and makes a vital contribution to supporting returned soldiers and their families.

Maryborough RSL sub-branch president Paul Coleman said a commitment to his staff and the local community was at the forefront of his mind during the pandemic.

"We are at the social centre of the town and by far the biggest in that regard," Mr Coleman said.

"We were overjoyed to see out patrons return."

He said the loan gave the business vital capital to help support staff and prepare to reopen.

Among that was buying 30 barrels of beer, Mr Coleman said.

"The loan was an absolute relief," he said,

"I feel a huge obligation to the employees and also the Maryborough community.

"For the RSL to close in a town like this would be a disaster.

"Jobseeker solved the employment side and the loan solved the business side.

"The loan was a lifesaver from a business point of view as we had ongoing costs.

"We still had costs ticking over but with no income.

"It took the pressure off with the unknown and helped to pay all the ongoing costs, plus when we started back up, we needed the working capital to go out and buy stock.

"In simple terms the loan gave us the working capital to be able to reopen.

"It was the correct amount and at the correct time.

"The club would not be here at the moment if we had not go the loan, it's as simple as that."