DVA’s strategic plan – DVA Towards 2020 – is now in its third year and I have re-issued the Plan to bring it up to date with our current environment. You will notice that DVA’s business priorities for the year ahead are now available in a new look Corporate Plan, and as a result are no longer in this Plan. DVA Towards 2020 remains at the centre of our high level strategic direction for the Department, as a statement of our commitment to our core Mission, Vision and Values.
2015 was a busy and successful year for the Department – we have worked hard to deliver positive outcomes for veterans, their families and the broader veteran community. Of particular note, we delivered 100th anniversary commemorations at Gallipoli and millions more Australians gathered elsewhere overseas and in Australian services across the country.
2015 also saw significant successes in improvements for our clients including
- progress on the Rehabilitation Review Project. Other business improvements have resulted in a reduction in the average time taken to process compensation claims
- a successful trial of the Veterans’ Employment Assistance Initiative, helping veterans get back into the workplace
- continued implementation of the Veteran Mental Health Strategy 2013–2023
- completion of important research into the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families including the Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study, the Peacekeepers’ Health Study and the Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Follow up Health Study; and
- continuing to identify opportunities to remove red tape.
At the same time as progressing these important initiatives, we are responding to whole-of-government reforms aimed at making the public service more efficient and effective. These reforms are transforming the way we operate, both from an operational and technological perspective and we will continue to identify opportunities to work more closely with other agencies, and share common functions and services.
In this regard, in 2016 we will continue to expand the electronic data exchange between DVA and Defence, allowing for the automatic validation of service history data. Defence and DVA will also work together to develop plans for pre-population of Defence information into new claims, further improving the user experience. Similarly DVA and DHS are expanding our already close relationship to further leverage DHS’ ICT capabilities to benefit DVA staff and clients.
With these important initiatives, I am confident that 2016 will ensure we are a more client-focused, responsive and connected agency that is better equipped to service veterans and their families now and into the future.
Simon Lewis PSM