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Vol 27 No.1 March 2011

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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1.

Increased funding for the Australian War Memorial

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has reaffirmed the Government’s ongoing commitment to the Australian War Memorial (AWM), announcing an additional $8 million per year to support its ongoing operations.
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Pensions and allowances rise

Veterans’ pensions have been increased from 20 March following the latest round of indexation adjustments. Pension rates are calculated on a daily basis so the pension paid on payday 24 March 2011 will be partly at the old rates and partly at the new rates.
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Travelling to Gallipoli or France for Anzac Day in 2011?

Australians travelling to Gallipoli, Turkey or Villers-Bretonneux, France for Anzac Day can now register to receive important information about the services.
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New health program for chronic illness

A new Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) program will be rolled out across Australia from May 2011.
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PDF 230KB
2.

Letters to the Editor
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Corrections

In the December 2010 issue of Vetaffairs within the Debunking the Myths section on pages 6-7, there was an error in the response to the question, “Can a partner pursue Common Law Action and what is the consequence?”
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DVA staff on Australia Day Honours List

Congratulations to Elizabeth Cosson AM CSC, General Manager of DVA’s Executive Division for becoming a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), and Major General Mark Kelly AO, Commissioner of the Repatriation Commission and Member of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
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Responding to Flood and Cyclone victims

As you all know, Australia faced severe flooding throughout Queensland and Victoria during December and January.
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Indexation

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, and then compared with Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).
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PDF 91KB
3.

Income Support advice letters

A number of enquiries have been received about the different circumstances in which advice letters may be sent to income support recipients. Last year, DVA sent more than 1.1 million advice letters to income support recipients to advise of changes to pensions and allowances and issue obligations. 
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Anzac Centenary update

The National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary has been working hard over the past months, reading through more than 600 submissions received, including many from the veteran community. 
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F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers

DVA encourages all those involved in F-111 fuel tank maintenance (and associated tasks) between 1973 and 2000, to come forward and seek compensation and health care for any medical conditions they believe are related to their maintenance work.
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Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study Update

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs is investigating the long-term effects of war service on the health and wellbeing of the families of deployed personnel through the Family Study Program.
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Report released on the Review of Military Compensation

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, has released of the Review of Military Compensation Arrangements report.
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PDF 105KB
4.

Australian Government funded residential aged care

While the Australian Government is responsible for providing about 80 per cent of ongoing funding for residential aged care, residents who can afford to make a contribution towards the cost of their care are asked to do so.
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New support for young veterans

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), in collaboration with the Department of Defence, has launched a new pilot program called touchbase.
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New pension rates from 20 March
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Veterans Service Centre expansion

The December issue of Vetaffairs highlighted the Department’s plans to expand the Veterans Service Centre (VSC) general enquiry telephone service to include the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland during 2011.
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PDF 127KB
5.

War widows look after our troops  

War widows in Queensland and Victoria have been sending care parcels to the Australian troops in Afghanistan.
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For your diary – 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.
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Remembering our Prisoners of War

Mrs Audrey Blood OAM,  National President of the War Widows’ Guild of Australia, and Mrs Diana Bland, National Secretary/Treasurer, made a pilgrimage to Thailand and the Burma-Thai Railway in November.
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Painting presented to War Widows’ Guild

Mrs Veronica Chapman, an indigenous war widow from Dubbo in NSW, presented the War Widows’ Guild with an artwork painted in traditional indigenous style by her daughter, Mrs Gloria Gardiner.
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Bone fractures are preventable

Every five to six minutes in Australia, someone is admitted to hospital due to an osteoporotic fracture. That is an average of 262 hospitalisations every day.
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PDF 152KB
6.

Vandalism at Lutwyche War Cemetery

Dealing with wilful damage of official commemorations is a small but significant part of the task of the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG).
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Refurbishment of Quailey’s Hill Memorial, Malaysia

The Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorial Restoration Project (OPCMRP) has provided a grant of AUD$10,000 for the refurbishment of the Quailey’s Hill Memorial in Sabah, Malaysia.
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Hellfire Pass audio guide available as podcast

For the first time, OAWG is making the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum audio guide available to the public via a podcast on the DVA web site. The guide was previously only available at the museum itself.
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Responding to the floods and Cyclone Yasi

In addition to the range of services provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) in response to the flood crisis in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria as well as Cyclone Yasi, OAWG is coordinating inspections for damage.
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New OAWG Director

Brigadier Christopher Appleton CSC (Rtd) has been appointed Director of the Office of Australian War Graves for a three-year term. He commenced in the role on 13 December 2010.
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Certificates of Appreciation

Certificates of Appreciation are now available to recognise the service of veterans of the Iraq War under the Australian Government’s Saluting Their Service commemorations program.
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PDF 186KB
7.

Debunking the myths – Partner Service Pension

Partner Service Pension (PSP) is a fortnightly income support payment that may be paid to eligible partners, former partners and widows/widowers of veterans who have qualifying service. Vetaffairs answers some of the common questions and myths associated with PSP.
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Administrative Appeals Tribunal fee changes

On 1 November 2010, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) introduced  changes to the conditions for exemptions, waivers and refunds of AAT fees.
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PDF 99KB
8.

Are you at risk of falls in your home?

HomeFront is a falls and accident prevention program that assists veterans and war widows/widowers to identify fall hazards in and around their home to help maintain independent living.
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Dr Killer's column – We don’t talk about bowel cancer
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My wishes when I can no longer speak

The nature of our lives and deaths has changed progressively throughout the last century. Due to a combination of medical progress, science and socioeconomic factors, those who live in western countries can now expect to live longer (on average) than at any time in human history.
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PDF 108KB
9.

Strongyloides and veterans’ health

It is important to say at the outset that strongyloides is not common in the wider Australian community except in some Aboriginal communities in Northern Australia.
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Alcohol and Women’s Health

Women have a long and proud tradition of serving in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and of supporting those who serve and who have served.
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PDF 110KB
10.

Publications available now

G for George: a memorial to RAAF bomber crews 1939-45
Victoria Cross: Australia’s finest and the battles they fought (2010 edition)

Australian Light Horse

Royal Australian Navy

Gallipoli

Australian Flying Corps
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Medals Lost & Found
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PDF 146KB
11.

News from the AWM
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Rats of Tobruk, 1941

2011 marks the 70th anniversary of Australia’s first major battles of the Second World War. These actions and campaigns were fought in the Middle East and the Mediterranean where the three Australian services were continuously in action throughout 1941.

AWM Director re-appointed

The Director of the Australian War Memorial, Steve Gower AO AO (Mil), has been re-appointed for an 18 month term.

Memorial service for HMAS Sydney

While on passage from Bali to Fremantle late last year – on the ship, MV Dawn Princess –  Allan Moffatt OAM (President of the Royal Australian Navy Communications Branch Association of NSW and Vice President of the Federation of Naval Ships Association) and 2000 fellow travellers came close to the area where the remains of HMAS Sydney and the German raider Kormoran have now been located.
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Graduates discover DVA

DVA is proud of its highly-respected graduate program and continues to be impressed by the talented and passionate people it attracts.
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PDF 224KB
12.

Noticeboard
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Army
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Navy
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Air Force
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Miscellaneous
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Reunions
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PDF 132KB