Our Story

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Philosophy

Our philosophy is simple and is derived from the experience of Operation COMPASS (the National Suicide Prevention Trial for Veterans and their families which commenced in Townsville in 2017 and is continued by The Oasis Townsville as a program). It is the philosophy for happiness first articulated by 18th Century German philosopher Immanuel Kant but has been used in various forms by many others since. Our form is thus:

Happiness is pretty simple:

someone to love,

something to do, and

something to look forward to.

As such, The Oasis Townsville comprises three core programs: 

  • A Connections Program that has as its aim maximum use of the purpose-built facility of our Home Base for the Veteran Community in Oonoonba. We have many groups using the facility, some we conduct ourselves, others are separately organised and just looking for a great venue. All usage of space is free for groups that can demonstrate they have members of the veteran community as members.

  • An Education and Employment Program that seeks to place members of the veteran community into meaningful work. That can be support to start a business and self-employment employment, or as an employee of someone else's business. It could also be as simple as a volunteer role or a connections program. 

  • A Plans Development Program that assists all members of the veteran community to better prepare for their future whether transitioning from the ADF into civilian life or working through the issues associated with other likely or possible life-changing events.

Vision

 

A thriving, respected, vibrant, and well supported veteran community enhancing the economic and social prosperity of Townsville. 

Mission

 

The Oasis Townsville is to provide a 'single front door' for all members of the ex-ADF community in Townsville, including families; as well as current ADF members who have begun the transition journey - to transition, connect and integrate into the Townsville Community.  

Goals

 

  1. An environment that is veteran and family-friendly and welcoming, facilitating social connections and a feeling of personal safety.

  2. A service that facilitates comprehensive access by the veteran community (including families) to services that support the 10 Human Needs.

  3. An experience that is rewarding, meaningful and enjoyable for all staff.

  4. A culture that supports veterans supporting veterans and the pursuit of good ideas to do this better.

Strategy

Ends

  • The ex-ADF Community in Townsville is recognised by the Townsville community as an important contributor to the economic and social prosperity of Townsville. There is widespread recognition among the veteran community in Townsville that they are well supported locally and know where to get support when required. Every ADF member transitioning into the Townsville Community feels strongly supported respected in all aspects.

 

Ways

  • By ensuring those who once served in the ADF and their families are best supported to succeed in civilian life. We do this by helping individuals and families plan for their future and by coordinating the advice, services, support, training, and engagement with and between other organisations and services from the Government (including Townsville City Council, Queensland, and Federal Government (esp. Defence and DVA)), businesses and business organisations, NGOs, NFPs, charities and volunteer community-based organisations that have as their mission to affect the social determinants of health and wellbeing for the Townsville Community and that include the interests of the ex-ADF community. Through this effort, every client is case managed and offered appropriate referrals in the 10 Human Needs, which are followed up on professionally until the outcomes sought are achieved.

Means

  • Through an appropriately located and sized facility maintained and supported by grant funding, contracted services and philanthropic business sponsorships and donations, and run by a paid workforce as the foundation of a capability for continuity and consistency, which is enhanced by our volunteers to bring scale to the operation.

The Oasis Townsville Logo & Tag CMYK.png
Name and Logo

The name and logo of The Oasis Townsville are symbolic of the philosophy underpinning our mission.

 

The Name

An oasis is described in the dictionary as: a fertile or green area in an arid region (such as a desert); somewhere that provides refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast. An oasis is often associated with palm trees around a water hole. The area chosen for the site in Oonoonba had several palm trees which remain prominent on the site. In our view, the arid area is civvy-street, as it is often perceived by serving ADF men and women before transitioning out; and we see our HQ building in Oonoonba and the organisation that runs it as being the refuge and providing the relief. 

 

We believe we represent a ‘junction point’ between two areas of operation (AO). We sit between a life inside the discipline of the ADF (inside the wire) and the 'chaos' of civvy street (outside the wire).

 

The framing of the title is intended to support the opportunity for any other group to create their own Oasis in their own area and simply change the last word to represent their area. For example, The Oasis Mackay. This would offer familiarity to service personnel who would simply know to head to ‘The Oasis’ to be supported finding what they are looking for in the area.

 

The Logo

The logo is a clever pattern of interlinking colours. They represent similar, but not the same colours, as those of the Navy, Army and Air Force, blending with colours more likely to be found in the world outside the wire.

 

The neat symmetrical aspect of the logo demonstrates discipline of the ADF but in an artistic, colourful, and almost ill-disciplined way. That is a theme followed through in the naming of Dirty Boots Café.

 

The linking is significant to our mission in that the effect we want to achieve is all about connections. We link veterans and families to jobs, businesses, and services; and we facilitate the linking of the various elements of the ex-ADF community. These elements include Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs), associations, interest groups and individual veterans and families - to each other.

Background

The idea for a 'referral hub' originated in the early 2010s from a collaboration of several of Townsville's veteran community leaders. They were concerned that the services provided by each of their organisations were dispersed throughout Townsville, related to specific types of service and in some cases to specific veteran demographics; and it was particularly difficult for members of the ADF transitioning and those already transitioned in the ex-ADF community to identify which ESO could help with any particular issue or circumstance.

The potential solution for a single entry point to support and for camaraderie gained significant momentum in 2016 with the offer of a building (old tennis courts on Ingham Rd near the Showgrounds) for 'The Services Hub' by the Townsville Mayor, Cr. Jenny Hill. However, this site presented problems in that it was only useful as a small meeting place and each ESOs would need to be represented or at worst they would need to have volunteers staff it. The ESOs then began to discuss an online Services Directory that would assist in finding the necessary services. It was recognised however that this did not encourage social connections which is one of the significant benefits of the ESOs and veteran associations. These issues confirmed the need for a staffed facility with significant meeting spaces.

The rise in veteran suicide caused an additional impetus to do something. In August 2016 the PM announced a national suicide prevention trial for veterans and their families to be conducted in Townsville to examine innovative ways of reducing the suicide rate in the veteran community. The trial became known as Operation COMPASS. The trial involved many of the ESOs and veterans and family members keen to do something about the suicide problem and in most cases were touched by someone they knew who died by suicide or was at serious risk. The lessons identified in Operation COMPASS led the Townsville veteran community to the same conclusion regarding a 'single front door' for redirection to an appropriate service. 

 

In the lead up to the Queensland election in November 2017, the Labor Party adopted an unsolicited proposal for $5mil to refurbish the old Department of Primary Industries (DPI) building in Ooonoonba, Townsville. They made an election pledge to do that and subsequently formed Government. The Oasis Townsville is located in the State Electorate of Mundingburra (with the 2017 changes to electoral boundaries) and Coralee O'Rourke won the seat and fortuitously was appointed Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors. Ms O'Rourke was a very strong supporter to ensure the process remained on the right path to achieve the effect the veteran community wanted and needed. 

 

As the work to re-design the 5000m2 site progressed, it was apparent that the Queensland Government grant would not be sufficient to complete the full redevelopment of the site but was sufficient to commence operations and provide a basis for growth. The Federal election of 2019 however, presented an opportunity to complete the project. Commitments were made by both major parties to provide the remainder of the funds needed to complete the Oonoonba Home Base. The Federal Coalition Government's commitment of a further $5mil was sufficient to ensure The Oasis Townsville was completed.

 

The LNP commitment also included $25mil to fund a further five similar wellbeing centres around Australia. This collection of veteran wellbeing centres is being developed collectively by DVA as a capability that was heralded by the Productivity Commission, "A Better Way to Support Veterans", 2019

The Oasis Townsville's Home Base for the Veteran Community at The Village in Oonoonba was completed in May 2021.