Vol 28 No.1 Autumn 2012

Vetaffairs is distributed to more than 300,000 members of the veteran and defence force community. It provides regular, up-to-date information of interest to the veteran community, including important information about government policies, programs and initiatives.

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Returning to Singapore
A journey made by more than 20,000 Australians during the Second World War was retraced by five surviving soldiers and a sailor in February to mark the 70th anniversary of campaigns fought in Malaya and Singapore.
MP3 version of Returning to Singapore (MP3 4.1MB)

Pensions and allowances rise
Veterans’ pensions were increased on 20 March following the latest round of indexation adjustments. Pension rates are calculated on a daily basis, so the pension paid on payday 22 March 2012 was paid at the old rates. The first full payment at the new rates of pension will be payday 5 April 2012. 
MP3 version of Pensions and allowances rise (MP3 2.1MB)

(PDF 538KB)

2 Letters to the Editor
MP3 version of Letters to the Editor (MP3 4.2MB)

DVA Secretary Ian Campbell’s column – News from the Department
You will have noticed that Vetaffairs is changing. With these current changes I saw a great opportunity to introduce a column which brings you the latest news on the Department, explains new programs and initiatives as they are introduced and gives you my perspective on the Department and the environment in which we currently operate.
MP3 version of DVA Secretary Ian Campbell's column - News from the Department (MP3 4.1MB)

New Repatriation Medical Authority Chair
Professor Nicholas Saunders has been appointed as the new Chairperson of the Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA). Professor Saunders recently retired as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle and will commence his five year appointment with the RMA on 1 July 2012.
MP3 version of New Repatriation Medical Authority Chair (MP3 1.4MB)

Calling all F-111 workers
Did you, or someone you know, participate in F-111 aircraft fuel tank maintenance between 1973 and 2000? The Government wants to identify all F-111 aircraft fuel tank maintenance workers, not just those who are sick.
MP3 version of Calling all F-111 workers (MP3 1MB)

(PDF 124KB)
3 New pension rates from 20 March – table
MP3 version of New pension rates from 20 March (MP3 2.6MB)

Travelling to Gallipoli or France for Anzac Day in 2012?
Attending an Anzac Day Dawn Service in Gallipoli or France is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it’s important to come prepared. Register online to receive helpful information and tips on what to expect, what to bring and other useful updates including important travel information on 25 April 2012.
MP3 version of Travelling to Gallipoli or France for Anzac Day in 2012? (MP3 785KB)

Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme
From 1 January 2012, the Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme will see eligible veterans receive additional financial help to cover out-of-pocket costs for pharmaceuticals.
MP3 version of Veterans' Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme (MP3 537KB)

More transport providers now available
A range of hire car and taxi services are engaged by DVA to transport veterans and war widows to and from their medical appointments. Each year, DVA arranges more than 800,000 of these trips to help veterans and war widows.
MP3 version of More transport providers now available (MP3 1.4MB)

Deputy Commissioner Victoria retires
DVA’s Deputy Commissioner in Victoria, Mike O’Meara, has retired. Mike joined the Department in 1968, when it was known as the Repatriation Department. Since then, he has worked in most of the portfolio’s areas of activity, including extensive stints at the former Repatriation General Hospital Heidelberg, Macleod Repatriation Hospital, and the Repatriation Artificial Limb and Appliance Centre. 
MP3 version of Deputy Commissioner Victoria retires (MP3 1.3MB)

(PDF 223KB)
4 Household assistance for a Clean Energy Future
The Government’s carbon price takes effect on 1 July 2012. From mid-June 2012, around 312,000 members of the veteran community will be eligible to receive assistance through the Household Assistance Package for the cost of living impact of the carbon price.
MP3 version of Household assistance for a Clean Energy Future (MP3 5.6MB)

How are pensions indexed?
The maximum basic rate of service pension is adjusted each March and September by the greater of the movement in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI), and then compared with Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).
MP3 version of How are pensions indexed? (MP3 1.6MB)

Changes to Payment Summaries
In the past, DVA has sent a Payment Summary (formerly known as a Group Certificate) only to clients who received a taxable payment from DVA during the financial year.
MP3 version of Changes to Payment Summaries (MP3 2.7MB)

Single Claim Process is coming
Improving the level of service for DVA clients and increasing client satisfaction are central to the overhaul of the rehabilitation and compensation claims process and the establishment of the Rehabilitation and Compensation Business Redesign Program (R&C Redesign Program) which will be implemented over the next four years.
MP3 version of Single Claim Process is coming (MP3 1.8MB)

(PDF 99KB)

National Commemoration for Bombing of Darwin
On the 70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin,  NSW war widow, Mrs Ada Mumford, joined Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, to reflect on the dark day when our nation was first attacked on home soil – 19 February 1942.
MP3 version of National Commemoration for Bombing of Darwin (MP3 2.8MB)

Dr Killer's column – Breast cancer screening for older women. A neighbour of mine (who happens to be a war widow), recently received the news from her doctor, the news every woman fears. She was told, “you have breast cancer”.
MP3 version of Dr Killer's column - Breast cancer screening for older women (MP3 3.1MB)

Anzac Fields of Remembrance
Leading up to Anzac Day each year, the War Widows’ Guild organises a Field of Remembrance in a number of locations – Canberra, Hobart, Sydney, Albury, the Entrance, Newcastle and Tamworth.
MP3 version of Anzac Fields of Remembrance (MP3 1MB)

Start thinking about Veterans’ Health Week
War widows across Australia enjoyed Veterans’ Health Week in October last year, supported by grants from DVA. If you missed those events, why not think about organising your own event during Veterans’ Health Week this year?
MP3 version of Start thinking about Veterans' Health Week (MP3 587KB)

A conference for war widows
Join war widows of all ages as they gather to hear a range of inspiring speakers at the Kate Rhodes OAM Memorial Conference Widows helping widows in Adelaide in May.

Bambi Kindergarten
Bambi Kindergarten, established by the wives of soldiers serving in Korea and located on the grounds of the old Ingleburn Army Camp, is celebrating its 60th Anniversary on 26 May.

Story Writing and Art Competition
Widows are reminded to see the advertisement on the back page of this issue.
MP3 version of a conference for war widows, Bambi Kindergarten and Strory Writing and Art Competition (MP3 1.4MB)

(PDF 325KB)
6 Damage to War Graves, Benghazi, Libya
The  Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, condemned the destruction of graves at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Benghazi, Libya, saying he was appalled at the footage of the blatant act of  thuggery.

Re-opening of the Bullecourt Museum, France
The Jean and Denise Letaille Museum – Bullecourt 1917 forms an important element of the project to establish an Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front prior to the centenary of the First World War.

Memorial Park, Sandakan, Malaysia
OAWG has planned a number of projects at Sandakan in 2012, including the construction of an amenities building at the entrance to the park, which will provide improved security for visitors.

Service for Corporal Richard Atkinson
War Cemetery was host to a family committal of Corporal Richard Atkinson’s ashes on 2 December 2011.

Refurbishment of the 2/30th Battalion Memorial, Gemas, Malaysia
The Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorial Restoration Project (OPCMRP), managed by DVA, has provided AUD$75,000 for the refurbishment of the 2/30th Battalion Memorial in Gemas, Malaysia.

Visit to Springvale
HRH The Duke of Kent, in his capacity as President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, visited the Springvale War Cemetery in Victoria on 28 January 2012.
MP3 version of Damage to War Graves, Benghazi, Libya, Re-opening of the Bullecourt Museum, France, Sandakan Memorial Park, Sandakan, Malaysia, Refurbishment of the 2/30th Battalion Memorial, Gemas, Malaysia and Visit to Springvale (MP3 6.3KMB)

Vietnam Veterans Education Centre, Washington DC
The Office of Australian War Graves has announced the full membership of the Advisory Panel for the design and content of the Australian component of the Vietnam Veterans Education Centre in Washington DC.
MP3 version of Vietnam Veterans Education Centre, Washington DC (MP3 1.9MB)

The digital switch
Australia is making the switch to digital-only television. By the end of 2013, analog TV will be completely switched off and free-to-air TV will be broadcast in digital-only.
MP3 version of the digital switch (MP3 2.8MB)

(PDF 211KB)
7 Debunking the myths – the DVA White Card and non-liability health cover
MP3 version of Debunking the myths (MP3 6.3MB)

DVA study updates
Thankyou to everyone who completed and returned their Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study or Timor-Leste Family Study questionnaire. Registration for both of these studies has now closed.
MP3 version of DVA study updates (MP3 5.2MB)

(PDF 105KB)
8 Dental health
There is nothing quite like that fresh, clean feeling in your mouth after you’ve brushed and flossed your teeth. But cleaning your teeth properly does much more for you than help keep your smile bright and your breath fresh.
MP3 version of dental health (MP3 2.5MB)

How’s your ticker?
Improve your heart health with some fellow veterans.
The VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service – offers the free Heart Health Program to assist veterans and peacekeepers in improving their cardiovascular health.
MP3 version of how's your ticker? (MP3 1.7MB)

Tinnitus treatment available
Tinnitus is a physical condition, experienced as noises or ringing in the ears or head, when no such external physical noise is present. It can be a debilitating condition which is characterised by variations of ringing, buzzing, screaming, whistling or ticking.
MP3 version of tinnitus treatment available (MP3 2.6MB)

Hearing loss – the invisible disability
Hearing loss is something that can affect anyone at any age. Often referred to as the invisible disability, it can rarely be cured and can never be restored.
MP3 version of hearing loss - the invisible disability (MP3 2MB)

Medals Lost & Found 
MP3 version of Medals Lost & Found (MP3 1.3MB)

These boots were made for walking
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia, claiming the lives of more than one in three Australians. Many of these deaths can be prevented with regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
MP3 version of these boots were made for walking (MP3 1.4MB)

(PDF 75KB)
9 United ADF reaches out to help Wagga flood victims
It is midnight on March 7 at the ADF Emergency Operations Centre that has been established at RAAF Base Wagga. Earlier in the day, the desks and whiteboards had been manned by a busy team of Air Force personnel, but as the clock ticks towards a new day, fresh faces wearing Army rank slides on their cams start to arrive for the graveyard shift.
MP3 version of United ADF reaches out to help Wagga flood victims (MP3 4.1MB)

70th anniversary of the sinking of the Vyner Brooke
14 February marked the 70th anniversary of the sinking the SS Vyner Brooke.
MP3 version of 70th anniversary of the sinking of the Vyner Brooke (MP3 977KB)

Join us on Facebook and Twitter
DVA is embracing social media – our Facebook page recently joined our Twitter service in providing up-to-date news and information. You can find us on Facebook as DVA Aus and Twitter as @DVAAus.
MP3 version of join us on Facebook and Twitter (MP3 1MB)

Dr Killer's column – A new start
It seems like the Christmas and New Year period all came in a rush and now we are well into the new year, having barely had a chance to catch our breath. A new year for many of us can be a time for reflection and for taking stock, particularly in relation to our job, family, and our health.
MP3 version of Dr Killer's column - A new start (MP3 2.4MB)

(PDF 259KB)

Publications available now
Australians in World War I: Home Front
Wartime subscription – 2 years (8 issues)
The Bombing of Darwin: An Awkward Truth (DVD)
Nurse bookmark (Hall of Memory)
MP3 version of Publications available now (MP3 5.2MB)

News from the AWM
Nurses: from Zululand to Afghanistan, a new exhibition that recognises the crucial yet often undervalued contribution of nurses to Australia’s military operations overseas, is now on display at the Australian War Memorial.
MP3 version of News from the AWM (MP3 2.8MB)

(PDF 247KB)

Reunion notices
MP3 version of Reunion notices (MP3 9.7MB)

Home front: wartime Sydney 1939–45
Home front: wartime Sydney 1939–45, a new exhibition at the Museum of Sydney proudly sponsored by DVA, explores how the Second World War transformed civilian life in Sydney.
MP3 version of Home front: wartime Sydney 1939-45 (MP3 2.3MB)

University graduates join DVA
Each year, DVA attracts graduates from a range of  fields, and many graduates from previous years now occupy executive positions within DVA.
MP3 version of University graduates join DVA (MP3 2.6MB)

MP3 version of Off the Shelf (MP3 596KB)

(PDF 127KB)
12 Noticeboard
MP3 version of Noticeboard (MP3 416KB)
MP3 version of Noticeboard - Air Force (MP3 2.2MB)
MP3 version of Noticeboard - Army (MP3 6.2MB)
MP3 version of Noticeboard - Navy (MP3 312KB)

The Veteran Community Story Writing and Art Competition

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MP3 version of Noticeboard - Miscellaneous, the Veteran Community Story Writing and Art Competition and Receive Vetaffairs electronically (MP3 7.4MB)

(PDF 227KB)