Veterans' Issues Update
Issues of interest to the ex-ADF community in Townsville are included below, most recent on top.
Veterans to be counted on 2021 Census
14 Feb 2020
In Parliament this week, the Census and Statistics Amendment (Statistical Information) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) was tabled and will allow for the inclusion of the question relating to ADF service. The resulting data will have the potential to help the federal, state and territory government agencies, and ex-service organisations better target and improve services and support, particularly for the large proportion of veterans who are currently unknown to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). Minister for Veterans Affairs Media Release of 14 Feb.
Government announces National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicides
5 Feb 2020
National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention has been announced by the PM and will lead an independent and permanent office tasked with looking at ways to curb the suicide rate among the Defence Force community. Fact Sheet here.
Entitlements and Benefits
Australian Defence Veterans' Covenant - DVA Webpage
All the links and info on the Veterans Card, Lapel Pin, Oath etc. on this website.
Australian Veterans' Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019
Email from Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs - MAJGEN Liz Cosson AM, CSC (Ret'd)
I would like to thank you for your ongoing commitment and support to ensuring veterans and their families receive the recognition and respect they deserve for their service and sacrifice to our country.
I am pleased to let you know that the Government’s Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019 has passed Federal Parliament today.
This legislation formally establishes the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant which includes an oath, lapel pin and Veteran Card which are available for veterans and eligible reservists.
With the passing of this legislation we will now start to send out the lapel pins and oath to those who have already registered via mail in the coming weeks.
The new Veteran Card, which is a redesign of the existing DVA health cards, continues to provide access to treatments and benefits and will soon provide access to thousands of offers from businesses across Australia as a part of a new benefits program.
We are expecting to launch the benefits program very soon and will be sending information packs in the mail to Ex-Service Organisations and RSL Sub-branches which includes promotional material and a set of frequently asked questions to help you support veterans to ensure they get the most out of the program.
Veterans and reservists can continue to register for the Covenant online through MyService, by calling DVA on 1800 555 254, or by visiting your local Veterans Access Network office.
For more information about the Covenant, please visit https://www.dva.gov.au/benefits-and-payments/australian-defence-veterans-covenant
Liz Cosson AM CSC
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
5,800 defence veterans homeless in Australia, that’s more than we thought
1 October 2019
Given the coverage in national media and more specifically the local spotlight by Townsville Bulletin, many may be interested where the data came from. About 5.6% of Australian defence veterans could end up homeless. The number of homeless defence veterans in Australia is far bigger than previously thought, according to a new study.
Research (AHURi Report of May 2019 on DVA Website) puts the figure at almost 5,800 veterans experiencing homelessness in a 12 month period. Veterans are also more likely to be homeless than other people in the Australian community. [The Conversation, 1 October 2019]
Update adds more features to online veterans’ portal
19 September 2019
A dedicated Queensland Government online veterans’ portal set up late 2018 has been updated with more features and greater functionality, following consultation with veterans and support groups. And here is The Oasis Website listing of ESO's.
Veteran mental health and wellbeing online survey
On 26 June 2019, the Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, the Hon Darren Chester MP, convened a national summit of experts (the Summit) in veteran mental health and suicide prevention to reshape the 10-year Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and to focus on a National Action Plan to improve veteran mental health and wellbeing. The DVA page describing the co-design and activity is here and the Survey for those who want to have a go is here.