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Vol 30 No.3 Spring 2014


Download the whole Spring edition (PDF 3.1 MB)

PMAC meets to discuss veteran mental health 

The Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Veterans’ Mental Health (PMAC) met for the first time on 24 and 25 July 2014. Announced on 13 March 2014 by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, PMAC is chaired by Vice Admiral Russ Crane AO, CSM, RAN (Ret’d), who is supported by Deputy Chair, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG, and eight members.

New initiative links injured vets to employment

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, recently launched a new initiative that will help wounded, injured or ill veterans achieve their employment goals.

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Letters to the Editor

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.

A change for the Summer issue of Vetaffairs

Three issues of the Vetaffairs newspaper will continue to be printed and distributed each year, while one issue, the Summer issue, will be produced electronically only.

News from the Department – Secretary Simon Lewis

Throughout recent months, we have been looking closely at our Rehabilitation and Compensation (R&C) business in relation to client service. Improving service to our clients is a significant priority for me as Secretary of DVA, as well as for the Minister and the veteran community. We all want to see things done better and smoother.

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Upcoming commemorative missions

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs is planning two commemorative missions of eight veterans each, to travel overseas in 2015. Staff from DVA will travel with both  mission parties.

Cutting red tape for claims

Current serving members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including Reservists who hold a purple ADF ID card, will benefit from a new DVA and Defence move to reduce red tape in the claims application process.

A message from the Minister

The Anzac Centenary period commenced on 4 August 2014, commemorating the declaration of the First World War 100 years ago. The 1914-18 ‘Great War’, was to become the largest and most costly conflict the world had known, involving 70 million men worldwide.

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The importance of Qualifying Service

Did you know that having your Qualifying Service determined and accepted by DVA can provide you with a range of benefits, including the exclusion of DVA Disability Pension income from the calculation of aged care fees?

Pensions and allowances rise

Veterans’ pensions were increased from 20 September 2014 following the latest round of indexation adjustments. As pension rates are calculated on a daily basis, the pension paid on payday 2 October 2014 will be paid partly at the old rate and partly at the new rate.

New pension rates from 20 September 2014

Changes to the assessment of superannuation account-based income streams

From 1 January 2015, superannuation account-based income streams (also known as allocated income streams and account-based pensions) will be assessed for pension purposes in the same way as other financial investments.

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Anzac Centenary 2014

The Landing at Rabaul

Following a request from the British government, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) was formed on 6 August 1914.
100 years since the start of the First World War

The Anzac Centenary period began on 4 August 2014 with commemorations held in capital cities to mark the day Australia became involved in the First World War. 

Anzac Centenary Public Fund

The Anzac Centenary Public Fund has been established to enable the Australian business community and the public to donate to Anzac Centenary commemorations which will take place between 2014 and 2018 – the Centenary of the First World War.

Upcoming events – October to December

There are a number of national commemorative events that Australians can be involved in to acknowledge both the Anzac Centenary and a Century of Service for those who have fought and served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations over the past one hundred years.

Albany Convoy Commemorative Event – planning well underway

The Albany Convoy Commemorative Event (ACCE) will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the departure of the first convoy of ships carrying the AIF and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) to the First World War.

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Opening of the Musée de la Bataille de Fromelles

Australians who fought in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles were honoured at the official opening of the Musée de la Bataille de Fromelles on Friday 18 July 2014. 

Gallipoli 2015 update

Australians offered a place at Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015 have only a couple of weeks left to accept their place. The deadline is 11:59pm AEDT Saturday 25 October and includes providing passport details and proof of travel.

More double for Gallipoli 2015

A further 60 double passes to Anzac Day at Gallipoli in 2015 have been provided to Australians on the waitlist.

ACT and WA schools take out Anzac Day Schools’ Awards

Top honours in this year’s Anzac Day Schools’ Awards have been awarded to Melba Copland Secondary School in the ACT and Binnu Primary School in WA, in their respective state and national categories.

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Remembering on Vietnam Veterans’ Day

Thousands of people attended events organised around Australia to mark the 48th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan and Vietnam Veterans’ Day on 18 August.

DVA’s online services continue to grow

Since DVA launched its online service MyAccount in May 2012, more than 26,000 clients have registered to use this convenient service.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service joins Generation Facebook

It has been an exciting few months for Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS), with the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson launching the new VVCS website and Facebook page.  

Long Tan Bursary now open for applications

Children of Vietnam veterans can now apply for funding assistance to help with the cost of following their chosen career path.

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Dr Killer: Health care and friends

After 23 years as Principal Medical Adviser (PMA) to DVA, I will be moving on to greener pastures before the end of the year. I am not moving to my beloved North Queensland, but I am off to join my family in Melbourne – still a good option.

Winning Gold  for Australia

Australian para-canoe athlete Curtis McGrath has won Gold for Australia at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow, Russia. These Championships were part of the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where the sport is making its debut in the Paralympics.

Improving your mental health – DVA, your Doctor and you

Improving the mental health of veterans is a major priority for DVA. The Veteran Mental Health Strategy 2013-23 provides a structured and strategic approach to responding to the mental health needs of current and future veterans. 

The DVA Health Card – For Pharmaceuticals Only (Orange Card)

provides some Commonwealth and Allied Second World War veterans and mariners with access to prescribed medications at the current concessional rate of $6 per item including items not listed in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits, based on clinical need.

Annual Monetary Limit on dental treatment

While DVA entitled persons have access to dental treatment under the DVA Health Cards arrangements, there are restrictions on some of the services available.

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War widow commended for brave conduct

Kathleen Cochrane, a Coffs Harbour war widow, has been commended for brave conduct.

Widows commemorate First World War

War widows have participated in the many and varied commemorations for the anniversary of the commencement of the First World War across Australia.

Anne Bonner 1941-2014

We are sad to report the death of Anne Bonner, former NSW and National President of the War Widows’ Guild of Australia.

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Wellbeing Research Programme Update

The Australian Government, through DVA and Defence, is investing $5 million in improving our understanding of the impact of military life on the physical and mental health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

Data Study of F-111 maintenance workers underway

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has commenced the Fourth Mortality and Cancer Incidence Study of personnel who were involved with the F-111 Deseal/Reseal (DSRS) Programmes at Amberley, Queensland between 1977 and 2000.

New ADF Post-discharge GP Health Assessment

All former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) can now access a comprehensive post-discharge health assessment from their GP.

Introducing Dr Stephanie Hodson, CSC

Dr Stephanie Hodson works in the Mental and Social Health Policy Branch at DVA as the Mental Health Advisor. She has worked in the area of mental health for 22 years and is herself an Australian Defence Force (ADF) veteran.

Changes to Middle East Area of Operations service classification

Operation SLIPPER has been the major operation in the Middle East for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). As of 1 July 2014, the ADF split the existing area of Operation SLIPPER into three separate operations of warlike and non-war-like service.

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News from the Rehabilitation Appliances Program

The changing nature of the health environment, and technological advancements in rehabilitation aids and appliances, has resulted in new items recently added to the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) Schedule of Equipment.

Veterans’ Health Week

DVA is again calling on the veteran and Australian Defence Force (ADF) communities to take part in activities that will benefit their health and wellbeing during Veterans’ Health Week (VHW)—Monday 13 to Sunday 19 October 2014.

New website to help Australians with hearing loss

A new Australian Government hearing services website has been released to assist Australians find up-to-date information about hearing and hearing loss and to assist eligible clients of the Hearing Services Programme.

Planning for your medical care

Even if you are hale and hearty, it is never too early to plan ahead for your end of life medical care, including completing an Advance Care Directive (ACD).

The Red Cross – 100 years of helping

The Australian Red Cross celebrated its 100th anniversary on 13 August. This remarkable service began as the Australian Branch of the British Red Cross Society on 13 August 1914 at Government House, Melbourne, nine days after the outbreak of the First World War.

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Eligible veterans to receive the Legion of Honour

To commemorate the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy, the Ambassador of France to Australia would like to honour all eligible Australian veterans of the campaign by presenting them with the French Legion of Honour.

A pipe rack tells an Aussie’s D-Day story

Colonel Paul Appleton, CSM remembers as a small child occasionally seeing a rather neglected wooden, stained pipe rack in his family’s shed. He shared his story with Vetaffairs, remembering how he thought nothing more of it until much later in life when Frank Appleton, Paul’s father, recounted its history.

Rehabilitation success

DVA has a range of services and support available to assist former servicemen and women who are injured, wounded or ill as a result of their service, to continue to lead a normal life. Rehabilitation plans that are catered specifically to an individual’s needs and goals are central to this healing process.

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Medals – lost and found

Publications and items for sale

  • Charles Bean
  • A good place to hide
  • Centenary Flanders poppy pin
  • The ANZACs
  • 2015 DVA Calendar

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Protecting your home – a small investment

The extreme Australian climate can create many challenges for residents, including bushfires, storms, floods and the occasional cyclone. Whenever these events occur, one of the valuable lessons learnt is the importance of being adequately insured.

Did you know?

As at 1 August 2014, Defence had 1352 Indigenous members who have indicated their Indigenous heritage.

News from the AWM

  • Remembrance Day
  • Ben Quilty and Alex Seton exhibition
  • Last Post Ceremony
  • First World War galleries
  • Projections

Preston honours those who served

Rugby league great, Preston Campbell, featured in the Winter issue of Vetaffairs, says he enjoys being the one asking questions rather than answering them.

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Reunion notices

Off the shelf

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