Vetaffairs is distributed to more than 250,000 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.
Download the whole Spring edition (PDF 1.13 MB)
New Minister for Veterans’ Affairs (PDF p.1)
Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson has been appointed as the new Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac and the Special Minister of State. He was sworn in on 18 September 2013.
Gallipoli 2015 ballot opening soon
Australians planning to attend Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015 can apply for the ballot in the coming weeks. But there’s no need to rush – the ballot will be open for more than two months from the date it opens.
Letters to the Editor (PDF p.2)
First Assistant Secretary, Rehabilitation and Support Division. Lisa Foreman from the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has been promoted to First Assistant Secretary, Rehabilitation and Support Division in DVA.
DVA’s central mailbox
A large number of letters are being sent to DVA’s street addresses. DVA has a central mail box that should be used for all incoming mail. All mail that is sent to DVA’s major office locations should be addressed to GPO Box 9998 IN YOUR CAPITAL CITY.
News from the Department – Secretary Simon Lewis
DVA’s relationship with ex-service organisations (ESOs) is a long and proud one, with both sides seeking the best outcomes for veterans. To continue this work, DVA and ESOs are currently engaged in two processes – one looking at advocacy work, and the other at the National Consultation Framework (NCF).
Keep an eye out in the Summer issue of Vetaffairs for a survey. We want your feedback about the newspaper. Between now and then, please have a think about what you like about the newspaper, what you don’t like, and what we can do better.
60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice (PDF p.3)
In late July 2013, fifteen Australian veterans travelled on a DVA mission to attend commemorations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. For a number of these veterans, it was the first time they had been back to Korea since the war.
Defence and DVA working together for female veterans
Did you know that more than 11,000 of DVA’s veteran clients are women? With the participation rates for females increasing in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), female veterans are an increasing proportion of DVA’s contemporary client base.
Rugby League champions reach out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
A new partnership between some of Australia’s rugby league champions and DVA is helping to recognise the important contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women.
Pensions and allowances rise
Veterans’ pensions have been increased from 20 September following the latest round of indexation adjustments. The payday 3 October 2013 reflects the period from 17 to 30 September 2013.
New pension rates from 20 September 2013 – table DART Payments Scheme update (PDF p.4)
Reparation payments have commenced for many of those who provided submissions to the DLA Piper Review into allegations of sexual and other abuse within Defence.
Getting your payments right
DVA processes in excess of 9.2 million payment transactions for its clients each year. In the 2011-12 financial year, DVA paid approximately $6.5 billion in various payments, including income support pensions and allowances, military compensation and war widow and widowers’ pensions.
The Pension Bonus Scheme closing to new registrations
Changes have been announced to the Pension Bonus Scheme as part of the 2013-14 Budget.
Easier access to health care for more DVA clients
Changes are coming to the way DVA pays for treatment for clients with entitlements under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA). From 10 December 2013 treatment for accepted conditions will be paid through a White or Gold Card instead of the existing reimbursement or direct billing options
Afghanistan memorial (PDF p.5)
Australia’s newest war memorial, the Avenue of Honour, was officially opened in June in far north Queensland to honour the diggers who have been killed in Afghanistan.
Hope in Grief workshop
The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) held a “Hope in Grief” workshop for war widows and widowers in Sydney in August.
Gallipoli 2015 – First World War widows
As mentioned on the front page of this issue, a ballot will be held for Australians wishing to attend Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015 (the centenary year).
Computer classes for widows and veterans expand with DVA grant
Mondays are busy at a community hall on Sydney’s northern beaches, as widows and veterans arrive in three shifts for computer classes.
Interesting Indigenous connections within the veteran community came to light recently. Veronica Chapman, an Indigenous war widow from Dubbo, donated a painting to the War Widows’ Guild of Australia in NSW for a raffle.
Health and Welfare –Veterans and Widows of contemporary conflicts
A forum was organised by the NSW State Government in June to discuss the health and welfare needs of war veterans of contemporary conflicts and their families.
Don Rowe OAM talks to DVA about what’s working and what can be improved (PDF p.6)
Donald Edward John Rowe OAM, Deputy National President of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) and State President of RSL’s NSW Branch, spent 205 days in South Vietnam with A Squadron 1st Armoured Regiment in Phouc Tuy Province. Don’s CV details extensive service to the RSL, and a long and ongoing commitment to a range of national committees and ex-service organisations.
The Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome (JFES) Study
The Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome (JFES) Study is a four year, world first, ground-breaking research project being conducted for the Department of Defence by Professor Frank Bowling and the team at Mater Medical Research Institute (MMRI) in Brisbane.
DVA Education Assistance
DVA provides a range of support to help children of veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force to complete primary and secondary study, as well as university or vocational training.
Debunking the myths – The Office of Australian War Graves (PDF p.7)
What is the OAWG?
The Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) was established on 1 January 1975 and is responsible for the official commemoration of eligible veterans who have died post-war or conflict and whose deaths are accepted as being caused by war service.
Remembering Australian service on the Western Front – Trail update
Work is continuing on the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front, a commemorative trail highlighting key sites along the former Western Front that allow visitors to interpret the Australian experience of the First World War in France and Belgium.
Dr Killer's column – Keeping the glass half full (PDF p.8)
Talking about mental health again does seem a bit dreary and repetitive, but in the veteran scene it is the most important health challenge at this time. The good news is, in many ways, we are all pulling together to meet the challenge.
Release of Middle East Area of Operations Health Studies
The Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) Census and Prospective Health Studies were launched by the Chief of the Defence Force on 8 August 2013.
Safety checking of RAP electrical equipment
Members of the veteran community who have electrically operated equipment on loan under DVA’s Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) may be contacted by the supplier to arrange an annual “testing and tagging” of items.
MyAccount for Nominated Representatives
Nominated Representatives are now able to log on to view or manage a veteran’s record online.
Are you receiving exercise physiology services? (PDF p.9)
Exercise physiology is a relatively new program at DVA; it commenced in 2007. To ensure veterans can achieve the best health outcomes from the program, DVA is working to ensure the program is well understood by Exercise Physiologists (EPs) and veterans.
New online tool for suicide awareness and prevention
There’s a new online tool to assist the veteran community in the prevention of suicide. Veterans, Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families can now learn about suicide prevention online with a new mental health resource called Operation Life Online.
The NRS – helping people communicate
More than two million Australians have a significant hearing impairment and many others have a speech impairment. One in sixteen Australians reports hearing loss at a level where it is an ongoing health condition or disability.
VVCS – focussing on veteran families
Implementing new and innovative ways to support families in the veteran community is a key objective of the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).
Publications and items for sale (PDF p.10)
Kokoda history trekkers (DVD)
Fromelles: the final chapters
2014 DVA calendar: Iconic Wartime Australians
News from the AWM
Update – First World War gallery redevelopment
The Australian War Memorial’s First World War galleries are currently undergoing construction ahead of the installation of the new exhibition space in mid-2014.
News from the AWM – continued from Page 10 (PDF p.11)
Monday 11 November 2013 This year marks the 95th anniversary of the armistice on 11 November which ended the First World War
Medals – lost and found
Off the shelf
Noticeboard (PDF p.12)