Issues of interest to the ex-ADF community in Townsville are included below, most recent on top.
Commemoration for Australians involved in the Middle East Area of Operations - Views Sought
Posted 20 Jul 2021
Request for preferences for how this event should be conducted are being sought at this Defence website.
Engagement of Services Australia
Posted 14 Jul 2021
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
Posted 14 Jul 2021
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
Posted 13 Jul 2021
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
Posted 29 Jun 2021
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 here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=261393
Veterans Health Week 2021 dates confirmed
Posted 10 Jun 2021
DVA has announced the dates for VHW.
Preps for Royal Commission move to next stage
Posted 23 May 2021
Some of the common areas of concern identified throughout the consultation process relate to the transition process from Defence to civilian life, dealing with DVA in accessing assistance and the complexity of the legislation and the claims process, as well as mental health support, operational tempo and rotations, negative treatment of personnel, and a number of issues that impact families of those who serve.
Queensland Veterans’ Council Bill 2021
Posted 28 April 2021
On 22 April 2021, the Premier and Minister for Trade introduced the Queensland Veterans’ Council Bill 2021 (Bill) into the Queensland Parliament.
Defence and Veteran Community opportunity to have their say on the Joint Transition Authority
Posted 27 April 2021
CURRENT and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), their families and ex-service organisations are being encouraged to engage with the Joint Transition Authority (JTA), which is holding a series of online consultation sessions in April and May.
Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide
Posted 25 April 2021
On 19 April 2021, the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced the Government will recommend to the Governor-General the establishment of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
From 27 March DVA will turn off services in MyAccount
Posted 30 March 2021
From 27 March DVA will turn off services in MyAccount. This involves moving the services currently available in MyAccount into MyService. We are making this change to provide a single, modern online platform that allows DVA to respond to the changing needs of veterans.
Both Houses Vote for Royal Commission into Veteran Suicides
Posted 25 March 2021
Coalition senators voted with Labor, the Greens and independents to establish a royal commission last week.
Senate Inquiry established regarding DFRDB
Posted 25 March 2021
Accuracy of information provided to Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) members to be reported on by 24 June 2021
Visit to Townsville by Interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention
Posted 30 January 2021
The Commissioner visited Townsville on 18 Jan and held round table discussions at The Ville over two days. She has been very active and despite not yet having legislation to give her the authority she needs, she is well into the recon phase. The website is very informative and she has had a significant number of submissions and consultations. Significantly, she has had a good opportunity to hear the findings of Operation COMPASS.
2021 Census Question for Veterans
Posted 21 November 2020
A question is to be included in the 2021 Census regarding veterans. A range of published health studies show that veterans have distinct characteristics and health needs (e.g. muscular, skeletal, mental health and access to services) that require special consideration due to their military training, service and deployments. Recent public attention has also focused on well-being issues, such as employment outcomes post-separation, homelessness and the challenges faced by families of veterans.
Supporting the wellbeing of veterans and their families
Posted 12 November 2020
SUPPORT for veterans and their families was enhanced today with the passage of the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Supporting the Wellbeing of Veterans and their Families) Bill 2020 through Parliament.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the legislation implemented three changes to ensure policy was meeting the needs of veterans — recognising in legislation the Veteran Family Advocate, changes to better support transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to civilian employment, and ensuring all Gold Card holders are treated equally in terms of their benefits.
Better transition outcomes for veterans
Posted 29 October 2020
Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel transitioning from military to civilian life will be better supported with $17.7 million provided for the establishment of the Joint Transition Authority (JTA) as announced in the 2020–21 Budget.
National network of mental health first aiders
Posted 28 October 2020
AUSTRALIANS who support veterans and their families are being trained as ‘Mental Health First Aiders’ through free training offered by Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling and ex-service organisations around the country.
What the Budget means for the veteran community
Posted 31 October 2020
The Government has allocated $11.7 billion to DVA in the 2020–21 Budget to deliver a range of services and supports for our 220,000 veterans and 100,000 dependants.
The Budget focuses on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our veterans and their families, and providing the best possible support for those transitioning to civilian life and into meaningful employment.
Interim response to Productivity Commission report and findings from the TPI Review
Posted 9 October 2020
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the interim response addressed 25 of the report’s 69 recommendations, with a particular focus on mental health, wellbeing, employment support and transition.
Interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention appointed
Posted 2 October 2020
The National Mental Health Commission welcomes the Commonwealth Attorney-General Christian Porter’s announcement of the appointment of Dr Bernadette Boss, CSC, as the interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.
Consultation on National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill 2020
Posted 27 August 2020
Following the introduction of the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill 2020 by the Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, today please see attached further information about the legislation and the opportunity to make a submission.
A four week public consultation period has commenced and will close on Thursday 24 September 2020.
Feedback is encouraged on the Consultation Pack.
Advocate gives veterans’ families voice on support
Posted 10 August 2020
The appointment of a Veteran Family Advocate will give veterans’ families a greater voice when policies and programs affecting veteran and family health and wellbeing are being considered. More on this DVA Website.
Practical steps to support veteran mental health
Posted 4 August 2020
General Practitioners (GPs) across Australia now have access to a new 24/7 hotline to assist them in supporting the health and wellbeing of veterans. The hotline is immediately available and GPs can access free expert advice on veteran mental health issues by calling 1800 VET 777 (1800 838 777).
Minister VA Media Release: NEW INITIATIVE STRENGTHENS HOUSING SUPPORT FOR VETERANS
Posted 2 August 2020
Improving understanding of veteran homelessness among housing providers will be the focus of a new set of industry standards, training materials and a toolkit being developed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA).
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said any instance of veteran homelessness was concerning and this initiative will strengthen the relationship between housing providers, DVA, ex-service organisations (ESOs) and Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling. Read more...
Labor condemns delays to veterans affairs reforms
Posted 4 July 2020
The Morrison government is yet to respond to a major review of veterans affairs more than a year after it was handed down. Saturday is the first anniversary of the Productivity Commission's landmark review of Australia's $13.2 billion veterans affairs system.
Defence Force applications through the roof as job market crumbles
Posted 28 Jun 2020
A news article in The Age claims applications to join the ADF were up by close to 4300 from December through March, an increase of 18 per cent on the same period in 2018-19. The figures continued ratcheting up to April, by which time Defence was processing a total of 39,000 prospective recruits, the highest number in at least four years.
Australian Census 2021 to count veterans
Posted 19 Jun 2020
The Federal Government welcomes the announcement of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that the next Census will be held on 10 August 2021 and final confirmation that it will include a question about service in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Supporting the Wellbeing of Veterans and Their Families) Bill 2020
Posted 19 June 2020
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.
Pharmacy Benefits for Gold Card Holders
Posted 17 June 2020
Source: NOT directly from DVA but claimed to be by the originator
Here is a list of the Pharmacy Medications available to Gold Card Veterans. When you go to your doctor, make sure you take the list as he/she may not be aware of all these medications being available to Veterans under the RPBS Scheme. If you do have problems ask your Doctor to contact DVA Pharmacy approvals on 1800 552 580 for an authority.
This is a list of products that are available on a Doctor’s prescription, for Gold Card Repatriation Patients).
Skin Care: Sorbolene and Glycerine Cream, Calmurid Cream, Pinetarsol Solution, Hamilton Skin Therapy Wash, QV Bath oil, QV Cream – (DVA Authority Required)
Hair Care: Sebitar Shampoo, Sebi Rinse Conditioner, Selsun Nizoral Shampoo, -- (DVA Authority Required)
Sun Care: 15+ Cream, Lotion and Solarstick, Ego Sun Sense 50+, Aquasun.
Oral Hygiene: Savacol Aquae Spray for Dry mouth.
Allergies: Telfast, Claratyne, Zyrtec, Phenergan, Drixine Nasal Spray, Sudafed, Demazin Tablets.
Cough Mixtures: Senagar & Ammonia, Durotuss
Fibre Supplements & Laxatives: Nucolox, Normacol, Metamucil, Coloxyl with Senna, Senokot, Movicol powder sachets, Glycerine Suppositories.
Dressings: Micropore Tape, Cutilfilm Plus Waterproof Dressings, Melolin Dressings, Handy Bandages, Cotton Wool, Betadine Antiseptic, Solugels, Barrier Creams, Disposable Gloves, Prantal Powder, Bactroban Cream or Ointment.
Haemorroidal Treatments: Proctocedyl Ointment – (DVA Authority Required), Suppositories, Anusol.
Ear Preparations: Ear Clear for Wax, Waxsol, Ceromol Ear Drops.
Eye Drops: Ircal Eye Ointment, Refresh Tears Plus 15 ml.
Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Sup Tablets (Caltrate), Vit B1 (Betamin), Magnesium Tablets (Mag-Min), Accomin Liquid Tonic, OsteVit-D – (Vitamin D) – (DVA AUTHORITY Required), MultiVitamins –(DVA Authority Required), Fish Oil Capsules 1000mg –(DVA Authority Required). Joint Pain & Arthritis: Metsal Cream or Liniment, Arthro-Aid (Glucosamine). Osteaomol 665 Paracetamol (Replaces Panadol Osteo Tablets), Voltaren Emugel –(DVA Authority Required), Fish Oil Capsules –(DVA Authority Required).
Sexual Health: Viagra, Cialis, Caverject.
Pain: Asprins – Cartia, Astrix Capsules, Cardiprin, Paracetamol. Ibuprofen, Panamax Co, Panadeine Forte.
Weight Loss: Optifast, Xenical.
Various: Nicorette Patches (Quit Smoking), Vermox, Immodium, Gastro-stop, Ural Sachets (Urinary Alkalinizer). ·
Always check with your GP as this list changes from time to time. (You could have been paying full price for any of these items without realising you could have them on a prescription, there-by reaching the Safety Net of $383.00 sooner. Remember after your 60 prescriptions per annum, at $0.40 each, your prescriptions are free. Some pharmacies are charging discounted scripts at $5.40 each, be aware if you take the discounted price you will need to achieve $388.80 (72 scripts) to reach the Safety Net.
Australian Veteran News Survey
Australian Veteran News is conducting a nationwide survey to understand how Australian veterans feel about their wellbeing.
CSC Offers Free 15min Consultations by VIDCON
CSC is providing additional support for veterans and families through free 15-minute financial advice sessions on early access to Super and Webinars? See how at links below.
ADF Super Members can NOW stay with the scheme
ADF Super Choice legislation was recently passed in parliament allowing ADF Super Members to retain their membership with CSC after they transition and with the option to continue to have insurance through ADF Cover? This is a great outcome for the future generation of veterans and their families. More details at this link:
Access doctors by telehealth
Media Statement from Queensland Minister for Health, Sat 28 Mar 2020
2020 ANZAC Day
ABC News Online report on Tuesday 17 March 2020. All Government supported overseas services also cancelled.
Check out this video made to support Anzac Day at the end of the driveway in 2020.
Everything you might need to know about COVID-19
And Minister for DVA has a media release detailing specifically the Health and Stimulus Package in Support of the Veteran Community.
ANZAC Day Resources - RSL Education
12 Mar 2020
RSL Education has a great resource for the upcoming ANZAC Day commemoration. These are great for the kids and for those who'd like to know more at this special time for veterans and their families.
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.