Issues of interest to the ex-ADF community in Townsville are included below, most recent on top.
CSC Webinars and Seminars
28 April 2022, 2:30:00 pm
Some great info in these webinars and seminars online.
Due to the current health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, CSC is temporarily suspending all in person seminars and meetings. Our education team are still running online webinars.
Extension of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide announced - until 17 June 2024
12 April 2022, 2:00:00 pm
The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide has been extended by one year. This week the Attorney-General announced the Royal Commissioners have been given an additional 12 months in which to prepare their final report, which will now be due on 17 June 2024. The interim report remains due on 11 August 2022.
Free Non-Liability Rehabilitation
4 April 2022, 2:00:00 pm
COme in and see us at The Oasis Townsville Home Base for the veteran community.
A new free program to help veterans refresh their social wellbeing and employment.
The Non-Liability Rehabilitation program provides you with access to social wellbeing and employment support. It can also help you find a General Practitioner (GP) or get a Medicare card. The program is easier for veterans to access than the standard DVA rehabilitation. You do not need to lodge a compensation claim to access Non-Liability Rehabilitation.
This two-year pilot is part of the 2021-22 Budget, and is available from 1 January 2022. An evaluation of the program’s outcomes will inform future policy design.
DVA 2022-23 Budget Papers - note funding for more centres like The Oasis Townsville
30 March 2022, 8:30:00 pm
2022-23 Papers at the Link.
Of particular note, p.16 states the following re Veterans Wellbeing Centre, of which The Oasis Townsville is one:
Social connectedness is fundamental to wellbeing. Veteran Wellbeing Centres deliver integrated support to all current and former serving veterans and their families, including reservists, in partnership with ex-service organisations (ESOs), community and other organisations and state and territory governments. Currently, six centres are providing wellbeing services based on the needs of local veterans and their families, with expansion into South-East Queensland and Tasmania underway. Additional funding in the 2022-23 Budget will support the establishment of a further ten centres as part of this important support network.
BUDGET 2022-23 DELIVERS RECORD INVESTMENT IN DEFENCE AND SUPPORTING OUR VETERANS
30 March 2022, 12:30:00 am
As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Morrison Government’s 2022-23 Budget continues its record investment in Australia’s national security by building Defence capability and creating jobs, boosting Australia’s cyber resilience, supporting Australia’s sovereign Defence industry and improving the lives of Defence Force members, veterans and their families.
Get involved with DVA’s rehabilitation pilot
7 March 2022, 1:00:00 am
DVA recently established a two-year rehabilitation pilot offering eligible veterans social wellbeing and employment support, without the need to have an accepted compensation claim with the department.
Nominations for the 2022 Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards are now open.
3 March 2022, 10:30:00 pm
The Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards recognise organisations and individuals who employ and support veterans, and partners of current and former serving Australian Defence Force personnel, as well as celebrating veterans and partners who are doing great things as an employee or entrepreneur.
The Awards are an initiative of the Prime Minister's Veterans' Employment Program.
New Veterans Hub Community from CSC
27 February 2022, 2:00:00 pm
The Vets Hub is an online community dedicated to improving the financial well-being of Australian veterans and military families. Our vision is to provide a collaborative network of services, that are easy to navigate so that veterans and families can access the right support and information for them during the various stages of life.
Get free rapid antigen tests (RATs) if you hold a concession card
5 February 2022, 12:30:00 am
From 24 January 2022, you can get up to 10 free RATs over a 3 month period with a maximum of 5 in a month.
You can pick these up from a participating community pharmacy. Find out where to collect your free RAT from a local community pharmacy on the Pharmacy Guild of Australia website. Keep in mind, supply is subject to availability. To get free RATs, you must hold a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold, White or Orange card.
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee – release of interim report into Australia’s engagement with Afghanistan
30 January 2022, 10:30:00 pm
The Interim Report includes eight recommendations ranging from an assessment of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan, the provision of cost breakdowns, Australia’s evacuation effort, supporting the resettlement of Afghan nationals globally, and protection visas for Afghan asylum seekers and refugees currently in Australia.
Ombudsman's Report into DVA
communication with veterans making
claims for compensation
29 January 2022, 8:00:00 pm
This report is the outcome of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s own motion investigation into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) communication with veterans who make claims for compensation for injuries and conditions related to their service. The investigation considered the appropriateness of DVA’s policy and procedural framework for communicating with veterans during the claim process.
Australian Military and Veteran Families Study
29 January 2022, 12:30:00 am
This study will focus on families of current ADF members and members who have left the ADF in the last five years, who have or are planning children.
The Australian Military and Veteran Families Study seeks to understand family experiences of military life, how these shape continued service in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and how families’ transition from service can be improved.
We are calling on military and veteran families to share their experiences of military and family life, and their experience transitioning from military to civilian life if no longer with the Australian Defence Force.
The study is open to families of current Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and members who have left the ADF in the last five years, who have children under 18 or who are expecting or planning children.
Free access to RAT kits for veteran card holders
20 January 2022, 8:30:00 pm
All Veteran Gold, White and Orange Card holders are eligible to receive up to ten free RAPID Antigen Tests (RATs) over a three-month period with a maximum of five tests per month. This policy will come into effect on 24 January 2022. In addition, DVA clients who do not hold a Gold, White or Orange Card may access free tests if they have a:
Pensioner Concession Card
Commonwealth Seniors Health Care card
Health Care Card
Low Income Health Card
Home Equity Access Scheme (formerly known as the Pension Loans Scheme)
9 January 2022, 11:00:00 pm
Changes to the Pension Loans Scheme at 1 Jan 2022.
The Home Equity Access Scheme is a voluntary reverse equity mortgage that offers older Australians a fortnightly income stream to supplement their retirement income. The payments may be made for a short period of time while your income and assets are being rearranged or may be made for an indefinite period.
A loan under the Home Equity Access Scheme can be repaid in full or part at any time. The full amount of the loan plus interest owed at the time of the death of the person will be recovered from the person’s estate.
From 1 January 2022, the interest rate for the Home Equity Access Scheme will be reduced to 3.95 per cent per annum.
DVA Support Spelled-out
30 December 2021, 8:30:00 am
DVA is working to identify and address advertisements that may mislead you about DVA health care services.
This is a good listing of DVA support to improve your health, work and social life.
MyAccount will be turned off on 10 December 2021
6 December 2021, 10:00:00 pm
MyAccount will be turned off on 10 December 2021 and MyService will be the one-stop access point to all your DVA online services.
Media statement — Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide hearings begin
26 November 2021, 12:00:00 am
The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide has opened in Brisbane today, with a ceremonial hearing beginning the proceedings.
On Monday, current and ex-service personnel and their families will begin sharing their very personal stories in Brisbane at the first of many public hearings to be held around the country.
AEV Wins Outstanding Veterans' Employer of the Year
24 November 2021, 10:00:00 pm
Well done to Mick McMillan and his team at Australian Expedition Vehicles.
Today, the Prime Minister, The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for
Defence Personnel the Hon Andrew Gee MP and Federal Member for Herbert, Mr Phil Thompson OAM MP announced the 2021 Outstanding Veterans’ Employer of the Year.
Congratulations to Australian Expedition Vehicles (AEV) who this year won not only the award for
Veterans’ Employer of the Year – Small, but also took home the major award,
Outstanding Veterans’ Employer of the Year.
Government protecting veterans' interests following court decision
23 November 2021, 9:00:00 pm
In a significant win for veterans across the country, the Morrison-Joyce Government has taken action to ensure no veteran will be made worse off due to a Federal Court decision.
The court’s decision in Commissioner of Taxation v. Douglas (the Douglas decision) had meant that invalidity pensions paid under the Military Superannuation and Benefits (MSB) and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) schemes which commenced after 20 September 2007 would be taxed as superannuation lump sums rather than superannuation income stream benefits.
Free TAFE for Queensland veterans
18 November 2021, 12:30:00 am
Free TAFE training and apprenticeships will be available for hundreds of Australian Defence Force veterans moving to civilian careers.
This includes the Advanced Mnaufacturing opportunity briefed at a session at The Oasis Townsville on Wednesday 17 November.
Royal Commission Update
15 November 2021, 8:00:00 pm
These hearings are open to the public and will also be webcast. More details on the webcast will be made available closer to the hearing dates.
The Ceremonial Hearing, to be held on Friday 26 November, will explain how the Commissioners will conduct the inquiry. The first block of public hearings where participants will give evidence begins in Brisbane on Monday 29 November 2021.
An important update for veterans who receive an invalidity pension
14 November 2021, 9:30:00 pm
Should anyone have any further questions, they can contact our dedicated team for this issue by emailing email@example.com or by calling 1300 006 727.
CSC WEBSITE UPDATED MONDAY 15 NOVEMBER Tax-Changes-to-Invalidity-Pensions
CSC has made the decision to immediately start work on implementing a number of changes that will adjust or maintain fortnightly invalidity pension payments, with the aim of having these changes implemented by the next pension payment run on 18 November. At the start of September we alerted veteran customers that the planned changes to invalidity pensions were being delayed. At that time CSC was instructed to halt implementing the changes following a number of Federal Government politicians expressing their concern that some veterans would be receiving less ‘in-the-hand’ each fortnight.
To date CSC hasn’t received any formal direction or guidance in regard to a resolution. However, we are very aware of the stress and anxiety that this issue has caused many veterans and we know that our veteran customers want some certainty about their fortnightly income, especially leading into the holiday period.
What happens now and when will it happen?
A video and further information can be found on the CSC website here.
Start-up of DVA TV
7 November 2021, 8:00:00 pm
DVA has launched its new YouTube channel: DVA TV.
Content on DVA TV will range from information about accessing support from DVA, recognition of commemorative events and veteran’s stories, and important announcements from the department.
Read the full story on the DVA website.
Defence and Veterans Legal Service
2 November 2021, 7:30:00 pm
We are a free national service that provides independent information and legal advice to support Australian Defence Force personnel and veterans, as well as their families, carers and supporters, to safely share their experiences with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
We are independent and separate from the Royal Commission, the Department of Defence, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
We can help you understand your legal rights and options for sharing your experiences with the Royal Commission. We can also connect you with other services, including free counselling.
Veteran Wellbeing Centre Network expanding South East Qld
27 October 2021, 12:00:00 am
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee today announced the Veteran Wellbeing Centre network is set to grow, with the opening of expressions of interest for a new centre in South East Queensland.
“We are also looking at innovative ways to deliver integrated services through established ex-service and other organisations across South East Queensland, to further expand the reach of the Wellbeing Centre network.
“You need look no further than the Oasis Wellbeing Centre in Townsville to see how well the model can work, and how important this investment is.
Want to make a submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide
19 October 2021, 9:00:00 pm
Anyone wishing to make a submission to the Commission can do so on the Commission's website. The Commission will accept submissions until at least the end of March 2022. The closing date will be confirmed later this year.
Sharing your experiences will help the Commission understand:
• Systemic issues among Defence and veteran deaths by suicide
• Risk factors, and
• The availability of support services
The Royal Commission cannot decide or resolve individual cases or award compensation.
Premier announces annual War Widows Day for Queensland
18 October 2021, 11:30:00 pm
War Widows Day will be celebrated annually in Queensland on the 19th of October from next year – a first for Australia.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the 19th of October was the birthday of Mrs Jessie Vasey, who started the first Queensland branch of the War Widows Guild in Toowoomba in 1947.
“I can think of no better way to celebrate next year’s 75th anniversary of what is now Australian War Widows Queensland than to formally dedicate this day as an annual recognition of the people left behind by those who have served Australia.
“Queensland will be the first to do this, to honour the widows and widowers of members of the Australian Defence Force."
Outside consultant firm McKinsey to overhaul veteran welfare system
17 October 2021, 3:00:00 am
EXCLUSIVE FROM WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN PUBLISHED 15 OCTOBER 2021
An overhaul of the welfare system for defence force veterans will be led by one of Australia’s top consulting firms, with Veterans Affairs Minister Andrew Gee saying he will cut a backlog of claims blamed for worsening rates of suicide among ex-soldiers.
Consulting firm McKinsey & Co will now start a running action plan for the welfare claims process and look to begin making significant changes from Christmas, while meeting and working regularly with families of veteran suicide victims.
Minister's Media Release now linked
MINISTER GEE - JOINT MEDIA RELEASE - GRAND LAUNCH OF TOWNSVILLE VETERAN WELLBEING CENTRE
16 October 2021, 2:00:00 am
Australia’s largest veteran community will now have further access to fundamental support services following the grand launch of The Oasis Townsville Veteran Wellbeing Centre today.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said the completion of The Oasis Townsville Centre will result in better access to essential services for veterans in Northern Queensland.
“One of my first priorities as Minister was to visit the country’s largest garrison city to speak with our veterans and their families and to hear their stories. That trip included a tour of The Oasis with the local Member for Herbert and veteran champion Phil Thompson,” Minister Gee said.
Senate Inquiry into Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan
7 October 2021, 9:00:00 pm
On 26 August 2021 the Senate referred the following matter to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry with an interim report 29 November 2021 and the final report by the first sitting week in February 2022.
Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan
Submissions close 8 October 2021.
Anti-Malarial Medications Health Assessment Program
3 October 2021, 4:00:00 am
Mefloquine Program Flyer.pdf
The program offers:
One comprehensive health assessment to explore any symptoms at no cost.
Selected GPs with training in anti-malarial medication and the mental and physical health issues of veterans concerned about these medications.
Veterans will receive a personalised Health Support Recommendations Plan to outline further investigation, referrals and/or treatment with their own GP.
MINVA Media Release: Annual AIHW report highlights need for veterans' support
28 September 2021, 7:30:00 pm
The Australian Government has today received a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) into the rate of suicide among serving and former-serving members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
The Report outlines that of the almost 373,500 men and women who have served over the past 36 years, tragically 1,273 have taken their own lives in the last two decades.
This report builds on previous editions by expanding the cohort analysed from those with at least one day of ADF service since 2001 to those with at least one day of service since 1985.
Final Words from National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention
16 September 2021, 9:00:00 pm
On 15 September 2021, the interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention, Dr Bernadette Boss CSC, handed a report to Government detailing the findings of her Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides. The report will be tabled in due course.
Dr Boss also wrote to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force, their families, friends, and others in the wider Defence community who have engaged with her work. Read Dr Boss’s letter, and her media release.
With the completion of the Independent Review, the office of the National Commissioner is no longer taking enquiries. The crucial task of inquiring into Defence and veteran suicide will continue through the Royal Commission.
Message from Governor-General re Vietnam Veterans Day and Afghanistan
29 August 2021, 12:00:00 am
An important message from the Governor-General delivered on Vietnam Veterans Day in 2021 has important recognition for Afghanistan veterans and consideration of their service, too. A must-see.
Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide Website
17 August 2021, 8:00:00 pm
On 8 July 2021, the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), issued Letters Patent, which established the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Mr Nick Kaldas APM, the Hon James Douglas QC, and Dr Peggy Brown AO have been appointed as Royal Commissioners. They are required to produce an interim report by 11 August 2022 and a final report by 15 June 2023.
Support available for Australians who served in Afghanistan
15 August 2021, 10:00:00 pm
This is a distressing time for many of our Defence personnel and veterans who served our nation in Afghanistan with courage, dignity and honour, and made such a significant contribution to the allied military effort.
Additional mental health support for white card holders
9 August 2021, 10:00:00 pm
Ten thousand veterans with complex mental health needs will have access to a network of qualified GPs nationwide, following the expansion of support provided by the Australian Government.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Andrew Gee today announced the Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program has been expanded to provide additional support for DVA White Card holders with an accepted mental health condition.
THIS WAS A RECOMMENDATION FROM OPERATION COMPASS
Census Topics - including ADF Service and long-term health conditions
26 July 2021, 1:30:00 am
The five-yearly Census provides critical data to inform Australia's important decisions. Every Census, the ABS makes a recommendation to the Australian Government on the topics that should be included in the Census. The ABS has reviewed what information is most beneficial to collect in the 2021 Census and has made recommendations to Government. The final decision on 2021 Census topics has been confirmed.
Commemoration for Australians involved in the Middle East Area of Operations - Views Sought
19 July 2021, 8:00:00 pm
Request for preferences for how this event should be conducted are being sought at this Defence website.
Engagement of Services Australia
13 July 2021, 8:00:00 pm
DVA has been working with Services Australia to provide services and support to veterans and their families via a Standardised Service Offer that delivers a more equitable and connected face-to-face experience.
From 1st July 2021, veterans and their families are able to access DVA services at 318 Services Australia service centres across Australia.
Veterans and their families who attend a Services Australia service centre can seek assistance for a series of DVA services, such as:
• printing and lodgement of DVA forms and supporting documents;
• fielding general enquiries;
• connection with DVA subject matter experts and support services such as Open Arms; and
• supporting veterans and their families in accessing online services in these service centres.
All Services Australia staff in the 318 service centres will undertake mandatory training to ensure veterans and their families are well supported.
The expanded service offering will not impact the services and support currently provided through DVA’s Veterans Access Network (VAN). Existing services provided through Veteran Information Service sites and existing co-located offices will continue as normal.
Another exciting part of the service expansion is that the 318 service centres will also commemorate the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families by actively recognising and promoting significant national events such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.
These changes will enable easier access to services, in particular for those living in rural and regional areas, and are an important expansion of the DVA footprint to reach the veteran community. Veterans and their families will be able to walk into any Services Australia shopfront and receive assistance. The list of service centre locations and other information is available on DVA’s website here.
Assistant Secretary Processing and DHOAS
Deputy Commissioner QLD
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Submissions to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide
13 July 2021, 2:30:00 pm
The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide invites interested members of the public and institutions to make submissions to the Royal Commission using an online form, or the paper form at the end of this page.
The Royal Commission will continue to accept submissions until at least the end of March 2022. A date for the closing of submissions will be announced before the end of 2021.
Letter from Secretary of Department of Veterans Affairs, Liz Cosson re Royal Commission
12 July 2021, 9:00:00 pm
Received via Secretary RARA National Greg Decker
Good afternoon ESORT members,
Today the Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP announced that the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency, General David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), has signed the Letters Patent, officially establishing the Royal Commission. The Letters Patent formally appoint the Commissioners and outline the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission. These are available for your awareness at the following link.
I believe this Royal Commission is our opportunity to work towards solutions to tackle the devastating issue that impacts our Defence and veteran communities. I look forward to continuing to work with you to support our veterans and their families during what may be a distressing and difficult time for many. I am committed to ensuring we continue to support our veterans and their families as a priority.
As the Royal Commission has now commenced the Government, Defence and DVA remain completely independent of the process and your inquiries should be forwarded to the Royal Commission directly. The Royal Commission website allows for all interested parties to subscribe to their mailing list here.
Submissions can now be made to the Royal Commission website either through an online form or a paper version can be downloaded via this link and mailed to: GPO Box 3273, Sydney NSW 2001. If you have any issues making a submission or you would like the submission form posted to you then you can ring the Royal Commission on 1800 329 095 between 09:00 and 19:00 AEST Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.
New Minister for Veterans Affairs
28 June 2021, 11:30:00 pm
Prime Minister has announced proposed changes to the Ministry following consultation with the Deputy Prime Minister. There are a number of changes, including to the Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel portfolios. The Hon Andrew Gee MP will join the Cabinet and serve as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel. Further information on The Hon Andrew Gee MP is available at the link below.
Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Supporting the Wellbeing of Veterans and Their Families) Bill 2020
18 June 2021, 9:00:00 pm
The Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Supporting the Wellbeing of Veterans and Their Families) Bill 2020 (the Bill) amends the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (the MRC Act) and the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (the VE Act) to:
create a new commissioner known as the Veteran Family Advocate who will be a member of the Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) to represent the perspectives of families of veterans
enable Regulations to be made to provide pre-employment and post-employment assistance to former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and
extend the quarterly payment of the Energy Supplement to the one group of Repatriation Health Card - For All Conditions (Gold Card) holders who do not currently receive the payment—cardholders under the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests and British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006.