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Veteran Community Hubs Network

Introduction

This page is intended to support the development of the soon-to-be 16 Veterans' and Families' Hubs across Australia based on lessons from the five-year Commonwealth Department of Health National Suicide Prevention Trial for Veterans and their Families' (codenamed Operation COMPASS).

The hubs are presently developing as stand-alone and are not being established as a network, beyond voluntary collaboration. There are some characteristics of the hubs that are the same. However, there is significant potential for DVA to 'own' the veteran wellbeing ecosystem through a regional hub network.

 

DVA presently has hundreds of thousands of clients, just like an insurance company, and professes to have some stewardship over the thousands of ESOs that comprise the ESO ecosystem by annually funding, largely volunteer-based, ESOs. 

Proposed Vision

The proposed vision for a network of Veterans' and Families' Hubs would be for the DVA to operate them similarly to the way the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging operates the Primary Health Networks (PHNs). A good way to commence would be to utilise the 16 Veterans and Families Hubs currently being developed by DVA, but in the long term, they could be organisations considered most suitable and capable. All of them would be not-for-profits (as are PHNs).  

 

The Hubs would have a designated area of operations and would be funded based on the number of veterans resident in these areas with a factor applied to account for the size of the areas.

 

This would provide a single point of coordination within designated areas for direct liaison between all agencies with an interest in the wellbeing of veterans and their families. These department/organisations/agencies include the Department of Defence (via ADF Transition Centres), Department of Health and Aging (via PHNs), Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), Services Australia, state governments, local governments, and other government and non-government agencies and organisations. 

This would be even more powerful if a strategic oversight panel or interdepartmental committee comprised the Commonwealth Government departments and national agencies with a national stake in supporting the veteran community. DVA's role in this group would be strengthened by having a regional/operational network to action national priorities and work closely with the agencies of the other government departments in regional areas. 

Practical Resource from Operation COMPASS

This guide has been developed specifically for those supporting the veteran community. One of the key lessons from Operation Compass is that any activity, formal or social, large or small, must be veteran-led. Use the activities and lessons from this guide, and get veterans within local communities involved to tailor these and make them work for specific local communities.

 

These are real activities, run by real people, with real experience, and this guide allows you to stand on the shoulders of those before you. Share your lessons far and wide, so that together we can assist each other to participate in a thriving community.

A key lesson from Operation COMPASS emphasised the need for whole-of-community involvement. The strength of any Veteran Community Hub Network will be working with each other given the mobility of veterans (serving and being posted or ex-serving and resettling in disparate locations). It will be essential to share lessons and information between hub, led by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Background

There will soon be 16 Veterans' and Families' Hubs across Australia.

The Oasis Townsville was formed in 2018 to action the early lessons from Operation COMPASS, which began in Townsville in June 2017. The Queensland Government funded the initial design and construction of stage 1 of the site for The Oasis Townsville. Stage 2 was funded by the Federal Government in 2019.

Along with the Federal Government funding for stage 2 of The Oasis Townsville, five additional hubs were also funded:

  • Nowra, New South Wales;

  • Wodonga, Victoria;

  • Darwin, Northern Territory;

  • Adelaide, South Australia; and

  • Perth, Western Australia;

In the 2021-22 Federal Budget, funding was provided to expand the network of hubs into Tasmania and Southeast Queensland:

 

  • Burnie, Tasmania; and 

  • Caboolture, Southeast Queensland

In October 2022, investment was made by the Federal Government in a further eight hub locations covering these areas:

  • Hawkesbury region, New South Wales;

  • Hunter region, New South Wales;

  • Tweed/North Coast region, New South Wales;

  • Queanbeyan, New South Wales;

  • Ipswich, Queensland;

  • Northern Adelaide, South Australia;

  • Southwest Perth, Western Australia; and

  • Surf Coast/Geelong region, Victoria.

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