Indigenous Veterans Strategy
Through the Indigenous Veterans Strategy, DVA identifies Indigenous veterans and their dependants to ensure they know of and can access DVA services and benefits and aims to raise awareness about their contribution to the nation by commemorating their war service.
The Department developed the strategy with an understanding of the cultural impediments that may prevent Indigenous veterans accessing their DVA entitlements, and with the knowledge of the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
In 2006, the Department established a National Indigenous Liaison Officer (NILO) position and, as part of the Indigenous Veterans Strategy, has developed an Indigenous Veterans Liaison Officer (IVLO) network that has an IVLO in each State and Territory capital as well as Townsville. The NILO and IVLO assist in the implementation of the Strategy.
DVA’s Indigenous Champion is Major General Dave Chalmers AO CSC, First Assistant Secretary, Client and Commemorations Divison.
Serving Our Country Research Project
DVA is a major partner in a jointly funded Australian National University research project, led by Professor Mick Dodson, Serving Our Country: A history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the defence of Australia.
The project, launched in March 2014, aims to identify and record the stories of Indigenous veterans. As one of the project partners, DVA has contributed $400,000 in cash as well as in-kind support of up to $100,000.
DVA Indigenous Champion Project
In 2013–14, DVA continued to work in partnership with the National Rugby League, to promote recognition of Indigenous veterans and help to ensure that veterans are aware of their service-related entitlements.
As part of the initiative, members of the Canberra Raiders and the Gold Coast Titans are helping DVA to connect with Indigenous communities. Retired Titans player Preston Campbell was appointed as an Indigenous Champion and has been raising awareness about the valued role of Indigenous servicemen and women.
Ceremonies and NAIDOC Weeks
During 2013–14, DVA provided support for national ceremonies to honour the service and sacrifice made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all Australia’s wars, conflicts and peace operations.
It also supported activities during Reconciliation and NAIDOC weeks. This included partnering with Defence and the Australian War Memorial for the Chief of the Defence Force’s 2014 NAIDOC Week ceremony.