Vol 26 No 1 March 2010

Vetaffairs is published three times a year and distributed to more than 370,000 members of the veteran 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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Burials begin at Fromelles War Cemetery
The reinterment of the 250 casualties recovered from a group battlefield burial at Pheasant Wood near Fromelles in France began on 30 January 2010.
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95th Anniversary of Gallipoli landings
This year marks the 95th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, with thousands of Australians expected to attend Anzac Day commemorative services in Australia and overseas.
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Pensions and allowances rise
Veterans’ pensions increased from 20 March following the latest round of indexation adjustments and the single rate of service pension has topped $700 for the first time.
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Widows’ news now in Vetaffairs
Vetaffairs and the War Widows’ Guild of Australia have teamed up to include a new page in Vetaffairs called Widows’ News. The page will include stories, news and information that will be of particular interest to war widows and their families, as well as the broader veteran community.
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(PDF 421Kb)


Letters to the Editor
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New Repatriation Commissioner appointed
Major General Mark Kelly AO, former Commander of Australian Forces in the Middle East, has been appointed as the new Repatriation Commissioner.
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Veterans’ Review Board—new chief
Doug Humphreys has been appointed as the Principal Member of the Veterans’ Review Board for five years, beginning on 22 March 2010.
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DVA farewells head of Corporate
DVA’s General Manager of Corporate, Jo Schumann, has left DVA after 12 years serving the Department and the Veteran Community. She has commenced a new role as General Manager of Corporate with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
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(PDF 173Kb)


Diggers laid to rest in PNG
The remains of four Australian diggers from the Second World War were reburied alongside their fallen comrades at Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, outside Port Moresby on 1 December. The soldiers’ remains were recovered from battlefields around Buna, Sanananda and Popondetta.
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DVA – a separate agency
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin, has reassured the veteran and ex-service community that the Government has no plans to merge the Department of Veterans’ Affairs with other agencies.
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DVA cards reissued
All Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Repatriation Health Cards (DVA cards) are due to expire during 2010. From May 2010 DVA will begin reissuing new cards to all eligible veterans, war widows/widowers and dependants.
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New deeming rates
The deeming rates for income support payments will rise to 3 per cent and 4.5 per cent from 20 March. Payments affected by deeming rates include DVA service pension, income support supplement, age pension and other means tested payments paid by Centrelink.
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Maximum base pension rates are adjusted each March and September by the greater of the movement in the Consumer Price Index and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, then compared with Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).
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New pension rates from 20 March
Rates summary table.
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Seniors Supplement
The Seniors Supplement is paid quarterly in March, June, September and December each year. The payment combines the value of the old Seniors Concession Allowance and the Telephone Allowance for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) holders and eligible DVA gold card holders.
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(PDF 150Kb)


GPO Box 9998—DVA’s new mailing address
DVA has a new mailing address. All mail that is sent to DVA’s major office locations should be addressed to GPO Box 9998 IN YOUR CAPITAL CITY.
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Naval tragedy remembered
19 November 2009 marked the 68th anniversary of the sinking of the HMAS Sydney during the Second World War.
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New overseas memorial database
Planning trips to Australian memorials while overseas, including the Australian War Memorial in London and the 1943 Kokoda Track Memorial, is now much easier with the help of a new online resource.
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Mont St Quentin, France
On 29 January 2010, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin announced the Australian Government is working with French authorities to establish a facility at Mont St Quentin near Peronne in France, as part of the Australian Interpretive Trail on the Western Front.
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Interdepartmental Working Group
Veterans and Defence personnel will gain easier access to government services under initiatives being progressed by the Interdepartmental Working Group.
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Digital TV – assistance for pensioners
Analogue television broadcasts are ceasing across Australia over the next three to four years, region by region.
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(PDF 84Kb)


Help and support for war widows
Assistance is available to all war widows through the War Widows’ Guild of Australia. The Guild is a national group with a strong presence right around Australia, providing a range of services for war widows.
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Concessions for war widows in NSW
Pensioners and war widows with concession cards applying for a NSW Photo Card will soon be exempt from fees. In addition, all war widows (irrespective of age and income) no longer have to pay for their driver licence or vehicle registration in NSW.
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For the love of travel
In 2007, following discussions with Perth members about how the War Widows’ Guild could assist with the prevention of social isolation, the Guild began running local chaperoned tours specifically designed to cater to the needs and preferred destinations of war widows/ers.
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Feeling Blue?
Are you feeling low, unhappy, tired or exhausted? You may be suffering from depression.
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War Widows Guild Council meets in Canberra
The Council of National Guild met in Canberra in October last year. There were a range of issues on the agenda relating to providing assistance to war widows around Australia.
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(PDF 150Kb)


Shrine of Remembrance declared a national memorial
The Shrine of Remembrance was declared a national memorial at its 75th anniversary commemorations in November last year.
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New employment services
For people with a disability, finding a job can be a challenge. The Australian Government offers employment assistance to people with a disability, to help make it easier for them to find and secure work.
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Understanding aged care fees and charges
While DVA maintains prime responsibility for veteran care and support, the day-to-day care of all Australians when in government funded aged care services is managed by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).
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Time to rethink your drink
Veterans have new tools to manage alcohol consumption with the updated The Right Mix — Your Health and Alcohol package.
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New community aged care entitlements
From 21 August 2009, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) pays the fees, including income tested fees, which former POWs and VC recipients were previously liable to pay for Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs), Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) package.
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Do you think you were exposed to asbestos?
The Department of Defence is concerned about the possibility that ADF members and APS employees may have been exposed to asbestos in the course of their Defence employment.
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(PDF 240Kb)


Debunking the myths – income support payments
Some of the common myths associated with income support payments.
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Continued (4.4Mb)

Off the shelf
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(PDF 67Kb)


Perth War Cemetery redesign and renovation
The western perimeter garden bed of Perth War Cemetery, Western Australia, has been renovated.
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Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorial Restoration Program
The Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorial Restoration Program continues its success with a grant being approved for the fencing of the grounds of the Last Camp Memorial Park.
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Kamunting Road Christian Cemetery, Taiping Malaysia
The Kamunting Road Christian Cemetery in Taiping is a civilian cemetery and contains the graves of 186 Commonwealth servicemen and dependants, of which 40 are Australian (28 servicemen and 12 dependents).
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Commemorating casualties lost at sea
The Australian Government, through the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is reviewing the Historic Shipwrecks Act both for general content and its relationship to the UNESCO Convention.
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Recent safety works at Hellfire Pass
The visitor numbers at the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum and Walking Trail in Thailand continue to rise, so the safety works that were completed towards the end of last year were a priority for the OAWG.
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(PDF 272Kb)


Dr Killer's column – Spot check
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Having trouble managing your medications?
Veterans who are having difficulty managing their medications can obtain assistance through DVA’s Dose Administration Aid (DAA) service.
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Increased range of Medical Grade Footwear
Under DVA’s Medical Grade Footwear (MGF) Program, you may be entitled to custom-made or ready-made footwear if your podiatrist identifies that you have a clinical need for this type of footwear.
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Supplier changes for continence products
DVA funds continence products through the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) to eligible persons with a clinically assessed need. Products are arranged by an appropriate health provider through DVA contracted suppliers.
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Family Study Program—update
The Family Study Program (FSP) is currently managing two studies: the Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study and the Timor-Leste Family Study.
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The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia
The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia (PVA) provides a national information service on the health and welfare needs of widows and partners of veterans to government, partner focused organisations and researchers.
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Sufferers of dust-related lung disease
The University of Sydney is conducting a study that is looking into physical exercise amongst people with dust-related lung disease. The study is being funded by the Dust Diseases Board of NSW.
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(PDF 69Kb)


New publications released
The ANZAC Book
Gallipoli revisited
No dramas: recordings from Iraq—DVD
The Anzac Walk
Australians in World War I: Gallipoli
Australians in World War I: Royal Australian Navy
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(PDF 111Kb)


News from the Australian War Memorial
Of Love and War exhibition
Travelling Exhibition welcome 3 millionth visitor
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Writing and art competition
Victorian veterans have the opportunity to show off their creative talents in the 48th annual Victorian Veterans’ Story Writing and Art Competition.
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Medals Lost & Found
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(PDF 86Kb)


Information MP3 (1.0Mb)
Army MP3 (5.3Mb)
Navy MP3 (1.7Mb)
Air Force MP3 (4.5Mb)
Miscellaneous MP3 (5.3Mb)

(PDF 109Kb)