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Vol 34 No.3 Spring 2018

Welcome to the Spring edition of Vetaffairs

Vetaffairs cover image showing several stories.The Spring 2018 issue of Vetaffairs is now available via the links below. Highlights include:

Download a printable PDF version of Vetaffairs (5.7 MB). Listen to the audio version (MP3 104 KB), noting the large file size. Email to receive future issues on CD, to request an email alert when Vetaffairs is published online, or to subscribe to DVA e-news.

Share your story

Where has life taken you since you left the Navy, Army, or Air Force? We're keen to share inspiring stories about veterans' post-service lives with the readers of Vetaffairs and through DVA's social media channels. Email us at


A new name for VVCS: Open Arms

The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service — known to many as VVCS — will be officially relaunched as 'Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling' by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Darren Chester, ahead of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

Rebrand will extend VVCS's reach: advocate

The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service's transition to a new name, Open Arms, will help it to reach a broader cross section of the veteran community, according to Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association advocate Coralee Goedhart.

Sharing the news about DVA in Iraq

DVA has in recent weeks for the first time taken the message about its services and support directly to Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel on deployment in Iraq.

From the Minister: Thank you for you service

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester includes a message of thanks to veterans and their families in his column in this edition, which also looks at the Centenary of Armistice, the Invictus Games, Veterans' Health Week, the Prime Minister's Veterans' Employment Awards and his recent visit to meet Australian troops serving in the Middle East.

News from the department

In her first Vetaffairs column as DVA Secretary, Liz Cosson AM CSC reflects on the importance of family within the veteran community; looks ahead to events including the Invictus Games and Centenary of Armistice; and acknowledges the work of DVA staff helping the department to be the best it can be.

Events to honour women unite defence community

Hundreds of women connected by their own or a family member's Australian Defence Force (ADF) service attended unprecedented events in Canberra in September recognising their contribution.

Call for entries for expanded Veterans' Employment Awards

Nominations for the 2019 Prime Minister's Veterans' Employment Awards are now open, with entries sought for new categories that include an entrepreneurial award.

Free advocacy support can show the way

When Garry Beven injured his back while serving in the Australian Army, he didn't know much about compensation or where to seek help. The RSL put Garry in touch with qualified advocates who were able to assist him.

Veterans’ pensions and allowances rise

Veterans’ pensions were increased on 20 September 2018 following the latest round of indexation adjustments.

Annual increase to travel allowances

Travel allowances for transport, meals and accommodation under DVA's Repatriation Transport Scheme increased from 1 July 2018 in line with the consumer price index.

Take the 10,000 Steps Challenge

As the Centenary of Anzac commemorative period draws to a close this November, veterans and their families from around Australia will participate in DVA's next National 10,000 Steps Challenge.

Mental health pilot trials digital coaching app

A new digital coaching app designed to help veterans to increase resilience, develop long-term coping mechanisms and ultimately improve their quality of life forms a key element of a DVA mental health pilot.

DVA nurse honoured for care during war site visits

DVA nurse Jane Gallagher has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for her work caring for veterans who have travelled with the department's support to attend commemorative events.

Increased support for older Australians

To help Australians make the most of the opportunities a longer life offers, the 2018–19 Budget included the 'More Choices for a Longer Life Package'.

Changes to incapacity payments for veterans studying

The Australian Government is investing $10.8 million to remove the reduction in the amount of incapacity payments when eligible veterans are undertaking approved full-time study as part of a DVA rehabilitation plan.

How DVA manages abuse claims

When a veteran makes a compensation claim to DVA relating to sexual or physical abuse in the ADF, the claim will be dealt with sensitively by a specially trained team. The veteran can also discuss the matter with a social worker provided by DVA.

Letters to the editor

Thank you, DVA; Reflecting on Vietnam; The 'Senior Service' tag

Invictus Games

The very best of the human spirit

His Royal Highness Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, created the Invictus Games as a platform for all those who have served, to prove to the world what they have to offer.

Unconquered together

The bonds of mateship are strong when you've served together, survived a Blackhawk crash in Afghanistan together, and convalesced together.

ABC line-up celebrates the unconquered

The ABC is the official host broadcaster for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, and will provide programming across its scheduled radio and TV programs as well as on ABC NEWS TV and online. This will consist of nightly round-up program Invictus Games Today, live coverage of the events (including the opening and closing ceremonies) and more.

Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Schedule

See an overview of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 schedule and find out how to book any remaining tickets.

How sport saved my life

For veterans who face mental health challenges, being active and part of a team again has been critical to their recovery.

Games give DVA added focus to improve veterans' lives

DVA will host a series of significant events in association with the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 around the overarching theme of improving the transition of veterans into civilian life.

Meeting challenges head on

For those members of the Australian Invictus Games Sydney 2018 team with significant and often multiple mental and physical health problems, getting involved with the Games has been key to getting their lives back on track.

Sharing in the healing power of sport

Many Invictus competitors are committed to ensuring other veterans can experience the benefits of sport.

Team Australia

List of Australian competitors at the Games.

Invictus social media links

Follow the action online and join the conversation.


Streamlining online services for veterans and their families

DVA's online service platforms, MyService and MyAccount, are now available via the Australian Government's myGov website in a move that will make it easier for veterans and their families to interact with the department. The change, which took effect on 31 July, is another achievement in DVA's tranformation and aims to provide modern and easy-to-use services.

Veteran insight improving online experience

Veteran and staff member of Veterans and Veterans' Families Counselling Service (VVCS) Lauren Eastaughffe is using her personal experience as a client to provide feedback and insights to the DVA transformation program.

Sharing the benefits of yoga

Tristan Rose, the founder of Blind Tiger Yoga, has visited DVA offices around Australia in recent months to talk about his vision to help veterans improve their physical and mental health through yoga.

Better transition for separating ADF members

DVA is working with the Department of Defence to trial a streamlined, client-focused experience for transitioning ADF members and their families.

Regional access trial extended

DVA is reaching out to veterans and their families in rural and remote areas through a Mobile Service Centre initiative in partnership with the Department of Human Services.

Tailored support for veterans who need it most

DVA has begun a pilot for transitioning or recently discharged ADF members who may require extra assistance to find the services or support they need. Over the next two years, DVA will work with up to 200 veterans, providing them with dedicated case managers.

Digital DVA health cards now available

DVA has introduced digital health cards as an alternative to plastic ones.


Making it easier to access treatment

The past three months have been exceptionally busy at DVA as our transformation programs are now becoming embedded in everything we do. Put simply, we're trying to reengineer all our processes to put veterans and their families first.

Saluting carers — our unsung heroes

When we think of those veterans who are struggling, whether through disability, medical conditions, mental illness or those who are frail aged, we often take for granted those family and friends who provide critical nonpaid care to the people they love on a daily basis.

Free mental health care and subsidised medicines

Free services for any mental health condition is available to eligible veterans under DVA's Non-Liability Health Care, accessed through a DVA Repatriation Health Card — For Specific Conditions (White Card).

DVA-funded mental health care available to some Reservists

Are you an Australian Defence Force Reservist who rendered Reserve Service Days with disaster relief service, border protection service or involvement in a serious service-related training accident? If so, you may be eligible for mental health treatment funded by DVA.

Department to cover diabetes organisation membership fees

DVA will now pay for eligible veterans to join their state or territory diabetes organisation.

ESO News

Legacy helps student find her way

University student Kate MacInnes doesn't know where she would be without Legacy. The 20-year-old was 13 when her Army officer father died.

Veterans rally to offer disaster aid

Team Rubicon Australia 'strike teams' of veterans are undergoing training before 'deploying' to support disaster-affected communities around the nation, including those that have faced drought, bushfires and floods.

'Journey's End' to open Veterans Film Festival

The 4th annual Veterans Film Festival will open in Canberra on 1 November with Journey's End, a British war film starring Asa Butterfield, Sam Claflin and Paul Bettany.

Great War bear project helps students learn of service

Australia's oldest living Victoria Cross recipient, Keith Payne VC AM, is the ambassador for the Bears to School initiative, which encourages individuals and organisations to buy and donate uniformed Great War teddy bears to local primary schools.

Widows' News

Contemporary widows connect during retreat

The War Widows' Guild of Australia NSW, Sydney Legacy and DVA hosted a weekend workshop in July for widows at Legacy House in Moss Vale, NSW.

A symbol of women's silent sacrifice

Why would a retired doctor living in Perth have a passion for the Anzac Memorial in Sydney's Hyde Park?

Upgrades to Sydney memorial

To mark the Centenary of the First World War, the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial Building are enhancing the Anzac Memorial in Sydney with the financial support of the State and Australian governments.

ACT office move

The ACT War Widows' Guild has moved premises.


Allied soldiers' cave graffiti to be protected

Visitors to France can follow in the footsteps of hundreds of Allied soldiers by visiting the Naours Caves, recently added to the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front.

Diggers' Requiem makes Australian debut

The Diggers' Requiem, an Australian classical music tribute to the centenary of the end of the First World War, received five standing ovations at its world premiere in Amiens, France in April.

PJ 'Banjo' Paterson's farewell to the fallen

Before their return to Australia in 1953, after serving in the Korean War, a group of Australian soldiers made a pilgrimage to honour their fallen countrymen at the cemetery in Busan. One Army Private, PJ 'Banjo' Paterson, marked the occasion with a poem.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month…

At 11am on 11 November 2018, Australians will pause to mark 100 years since the signing of the First World War Armistice. It will be the final significant commemorative occasion of the Anzac Centenary 2014–18.

Poppies project reaches full bloom

Yarn crafters from around the world have contributed to 62,000 handmade red poppies to be installed in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial as part of commemorations marking the Centenary of the First World War Armistice.

Pipe bands to join in global rendition of 'Battle's O'er'

Australian pipe bands will play Battle's O'er in public places around Australia at 5pm AEDT on 11 November 2018 to commemorate 100 years since the signing of the First World War Armistice.

Bells to ring out in remembrance

The bells of churches, cathedrals and carillons all over the world will ring out to mark the Centenary of the First World War Armistice on 11 November 2018, just as they rang to share the news that the war was over a century ago.

Off the shelf

Reviewed in this edition are Serving in Silence; Leadership Secrets of the Australian Army; The Missing Man.

Australian War Memorial

Memorial honours Invictus athletes

The Australian War Memorial marked 100 days until the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 with a milestone event on 12 July 2018 at which it unveiled a new banner featuring Invictus athlete and former Special Forces Commander Garry Robinson.

The Last Post Ceremony story

A new book by Australian War Memorial researcher and writer Emma Campbell examines one of the Memorial's most popular and revered public commemoration events: the daily Last Post Ceremony.

Items for sale

Centenary of Armistice poppy medallion; The Last Post: a ceremony of love, loss and remembrance at the Australian War Memorial; The sinking of HMAS Sydney: how Australia's greatest maritime mystery was solved; The Western Front diaries of Charles Bean.

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