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Vol 34 No.4 Summer 2018

Welcome to the Summer edition of Vetaffairs

Vetaffairs 2018 Summer edition Front pageThe Summer 2018 issue of Vetaffairs is now available via the links below. Highlights include:

Download a printable PDF version of Vetaffairs (2.7 MB). Listen to the audio version (MP3 99.7 MB), 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.


Australia remembers

Remembrance Day 2018 marked an important date in history: the centenary of the Armistice that ended fighting during the First World War.

Recognising and respecting our veterans

An Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant will be enacted in legislation so the nation can recognise and acknowledge the unique nature of military service, and support veterans and their families.

News from the department

DVA Secretary Liz Cosson AM CSC reflects on a watershed year.

DVA services during the holiday season

DVA is providing reduced services for the Christmas/New Year period from Tuesday, 25 December 2018. We will resume full services on Wednesday, 2 January 2019.

Annual Ministerial Statement on Veterans and their Families

On 24 October 2018, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester delivered to Parliament the second annual Ministerial Statement on Veterans and their Families, an extract from which appears here. The full statement is available on the Minister’s website. 

Women share experiences of defence service

Forty-eight women sharing a diverse range of lived experiences gathered in Canberra with one thing in common: an understanding of the impact of military service on veterans and their families.

Scammers claiming to be from DVA

DVA has recently become aware of a series of scams in which individuals have approached some veterans and their families claiming to be representatives of the department.

Academic law expert to conduct independent review

The Australian Government has appointed Emeritus Professor Robin Creyke AO to conduct an independent review of the implementation of the recommendations of the joint Defence/DVA inquiry into the Jesse Bird case. 

Veterans’ pensions and allowances rise

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

DVA on the move in Brisbane

DVA’s Brisbane State Office will move from its current address at 259 Queen Street, to 480 Queen Street, Brisbane, in January 2019.

Connecting veterans with employers

Australian employers that provide career opportunities for veterans, upskill and mentor these men and women and are focused on how to retain them can sign up to a new Veterans’ Employment Commitment.

New rehab booklet details support

Rehabilitation for DVA Clients is a new publication that provides a starting point to a range of rehabilitation and complementary services available as part of a DVA rehabilitation plan.

Vietnam veterans pass the baton

The launch of Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling just before the Invictus Games was a timely reminder of the importance of mental health support for veterans and their families.

Letters to the editor

The ‘Senior Service’ tag.


Diabetes organisation membership; new pension rates.


Tis the season ... to be frazzled

The festive season can be a challenging time. Mental Health Adviser Loretta Poerio provides some advice.

Veterans embrace fun week of nutrition

Around 10,000 veterans and their families took part in more than 130 events across Australia during Veterans’ Health Week in September.

New studies focus on family wellbeing and veteran health

Family wellbeing and the state of physical health of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members are explored in the latest two reports released from the $6 million Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme.

Clarifying ‘clinical onset’; more on prostate cancer

In his regular column, Chief Health Officer and Principal Medical Adviser Ian Gardner discusses clinical onset of a claimed condition, and prostate cancer treatment.

Veterans’ MATES topics for 2018

DVA’s Veterans’ Medicines Advice and Therapeutics Education Services (Veterans' MATES) program helps to improve the use of medicines and related health services in the veteran community.

Getting to know the DVA Audiology Adviser

Meet Jason Ridgway, an accredited audiologist with more than 25 years’ experience who serves as DVA’s Audiology Adviser.

ESO News

The Australian Flying Corps in action

Former Royal Australian Air Force navigator Lance Halvorson MBE has spent much of the past three years preparing a significant new book, The Australian Flying Corps in the Great War 1914–18.

National Vietnam Veterans Museum

This year, the National Vietnam Veterans Museum on Phillip Island, Victoria has won two TripAdvisor Awards, making it into the Top 10 Museums – Australia, and Top 25 Museums – South Pacific.

Supporting veterans in tertiary education

The Australian Student Veteran Association was formed in March 2016 to overcome the barriers to access and success for ADF veterans seeking qualifications and employment through tertiary education.

WWII veterans value regular catch-ups

Kawana Waters RSL is proud to have about 140 members over the age of 85. These special individuals served in the Second World War and now call the Sunshine Coast home.

Widows’ News

The importance of friendship

One of the core values at Australian War Widows Queensland is the value of FRIENDSHIP. Studies have shown that social isolation is worse for our health than obesity and air pollution.

War Widows’ Guild of NSW leads digital inclusion

More than 100 war widows across metro and regional NSW have built their technology skills through the NSW War Widows’ Guild innovative programs ‘The Great iPad Adventure’ and ‘Every Guild Member Confident Online’ campaign.


Client Satisfaction Survey results released

The results of DVA’s 2018 Client Satisfaction Survey have been released, showing an overall client satisfaction rating of 81 per cent for DVA services.

Call-back function now available in MyService

DVA’s online services platform, MyService, continues to improve with a recent update to the online platform introducing a client call-back service.

MyService being used across all age groups … and the world!

Veterans and their families from all age groups are experiencing faster and easier access to DVA services and support through MyService.

Using data to shape the future for veterans

DVA’s transformation represents the most comprehensive reform in the history of the department, seeking to improve the client experience by moving processes and systems into the digital age. The department will this year extend its innovative use of data assets and improve data literacy among staff.

The journey so far

DVA continues to transform, changing the way it operates and putting the needs and wellbeing of veterans at the heart of everything we do.


#1MS spreads the word about Remembrance Day

In the lead-up to Remembrance Day this year, Australians were encouraged to take a moment to reflect on who or what they would be thinking about during the minute’s silence, and to share it on social media using the hashtag #1MS (1 Minute’s Silence).

Lost soldiers laid to rest a century on

Four Australian soldiers and one British soldier were finally laid to rest on the Western Front last month, a century after they were killed during the First World War.

‘Anzac 360’ brings the Remembrance Trail to life

Virtual reality technology and stunning 360-degree drone footage are bringing the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front to Australians across the world, through an app called Anzac 360 that features interactive videos.

‘Just Ask’ launched to retain legacy of service

DVA has launched Just Ask to encourage Australians to ask questions within their families and make enquiries online.

Remembering the fallen in France

When the Armistice was signed that ended the First World War, little did Australian troops know that 100 years later Australians would gather, including many descendants of those who fought, at the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux to commemorate their service.

Hellfire Pass commemorative service

A national service of commemoration was held on 16 October 2018 to mark the 75th anniversary of Australian work on Hellfire Pass and the completion of the Thai–Burma Railway.

Anzac Centenary period concludes

The 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice, on Remembrance Day 2018, marked the end of the Anzac Centenary 2014–18 period, one of the most important periods of commemoration in our nation’s history.

New lions on guard at the Menin Gate

Hundreds of residents of the Belgian city of Ieper (Ypres) attended the unveiling of two new additions to their town last month.

Invictus Games

National effort on veterans’ issues

On Saturday, 27 October, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester hosted his state and territory counterparts for the Veterans’ Ministers’ Round Table at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

Engaging early key to transition success

Ensuring the message about the support available to defence members during their transition to civilian life reaches them before they need it was one of the challenges discussed at DVA’s Invictus 18 Symposium in Sydney on 19 October 2018.

Exploring best practice in veteran employment

Government and private sector employers, decision-makers and experts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US shared their knowledge and experiences during DVA's Veterans' Employment Forum on 18 October 2018.

5-Eyes veterans ministers meet

An International Ministerial (5-Eyes) Conference on Veterans’ Issues was held in Sydney to coincide with the opening weekend of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

Lived experience highlights importance of family support

When war widow Gwen Cherne finished sharing her story at DVA’s Veterans’ Families Forum on 18 October 2018 at the Australian National Maritime Museum, she was given a standing ovation.

Invictus spirit on show at closing ceremony

The Invictus spirit was on show at the closing ceremony of the Games held on Saturday 27 October 2018 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park.

Veteran sport programs to build on Sydney success

A new Government organisation, the Australian Defence Force Sports Cell, will channel serving and ex-serving members into national and international adaptive and non-adaptive sports programs, including the Invictus Games.


Winning artwork recalls Afghanistan attack

Former soldier and now Townsville-based artist Rob Douma has won the Australian War Memorial’s $10,000 inaugural Napier Waller Art Prize, the first national art prize offered exclusively to past and present servicemen and servicewomen.

Are you prepared for the Aussie summer?

An important decision many of us will make this summer is not where to spend our holidays, but how to prepare for bushfires and storms that are synonymous with the season.

Off the Shelf

Books reviewed this edition: Odyssey of the Unknown Anzac; Beyond Combat – Australian military activity away from the battlefields; The Lost Battalions

Be prepared: plan transition from start of ADF career

WGCDR Sharon Bown (Ret’d) grieved for two years when injury ended her RAAF career, but has since found a new purpose in caring for fellow veterans and their families.

On our screens

Films/television programs reviewed this edition: Truth Be Told: Lest we forget; Spitfire; They Shall Grown Not Old

Australian War Memorial

Major redevelopment for War Memorial

In November, the Government announced that it will provide $498 million to the Australian War Memorial, allowing it to undertake a major redevelopment of its galleries and precinct over nine years.

Items for sale

For Valour: Australians awarded the Victoria Cross (book); After the War: From Gallipoli to Afghanistan (music CD); Honour their spirit (handcrafted poppy bunch)

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