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Relationship between DVA and Defence

DVA and Defence are working together to deliver the best possible outcomes to current and former members of the ADF and their families.

Two committees, jointly chaired by DVA and Defence, support the strong relationship: the Defence DVA Executive Committee is the principal governing body, and the Defence Links Steering Committee implements the strategic direction set by the executive committee.


A memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the cooperative delivery of care and support, first signed on 5 February 2013, was reviewed and re-signed by DVA and Defence on 30 June 2016.

The MOU defines the respective roles of the two departments in the provision of care and support at all stages of a member’s career. Defence has the lead in caring for and supporting current members. DVA has the lead in caring for and supporting widows, widowers, dependants and wounded, injured or ill former members. DVA is also responsible for providing compensation and other support to eligible current and former members.

The MOU sets out governing principles to improve cross-agency processes, clarify funding arrangements, share information effectively and communicate jointly with current and former members and their families. It includes provisions for monitoring the performance of the Support Continuum—a coordinated and integrated support system that extends across Defence and DVA to deliver the required level of care and support to wounded, injured or ill current and former members.

Early engagement

Information sharing and cooperation between the two departments improved significantly in 2016–17. This enabled DVA to better connect with members who might benefit from DVA services and support, including transitioning members.

The departments are working together to improve service delivery and claims processing through the early engagement model. The first phase of the model allows DVA to communicate with members when they join the ADF, using basic personal information shared by Defence. DVA will then make contact at appropriate times during the member’s career to ensure that they are fully aware of the care, support and services available to them. Early engagement will promote early intervention. It will also assist members if they need to lodge claims with DVA in the future.

The first phase of the early engagement model is also expanding and streamlining existing sharing of information with DVA about members who have separated from the ADF.

On-base advice

A key initiative in the DVA–Defence relationship is the On Base Advisory Service, which has been operational since 1 October 2011. It is a national service provided by specially trained DVA staff who regularly visit more than 40 bases around Australia. The On Base Advisers can help current members and those who have recently separated to find out about DVA services, including compensation, health services, rehabilitation and support.

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