Meeting Summary September 2017

Last updated: 
3 February 2020

Deputy Commissioners Consultative Forum

Meeting attended by:

  • Defence Force Welfare Association
  • Defence Reserves Association (WA Branch) Inc
  • Naval Association of Australia
  • Returned and Service League
  • Royal Australian Air Force Association WA
  • Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia
  • Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia
  • Western Australian Branch of the Partners of Veterans Association of Australia Inc.  - WAPVA
  • War Widows’ Guild of Australia
  • Legacy WA
  • The Partners of Veterans Association of Western Australia Inc. - PVAWA
  • Department of Local Government and Communities

DVA Brief and update

The Deputy Commissioner gave an overview of some of the events and topics of interest within DVA. Mr Glenn Menezes, Director of VVCS in WA, has announced his retirement. Peter passed on Glenn’s respects and thanks and advised that Ms Helen Wauchope will lead the VVCS team until recruitment action is undertaken. The Forum expressed a universal thanks for Glenn’s efforts on behalf of the veteran community over a very active career.

DVA’s Restructure

DVA has undergone an internal restructure and Peter is now the Assistant Secretary of Rehabilitation and Benefits, in addition to his Deputy Commissioner role. The consolidation of work into two divisions was discussed as a movement towards consolidation and consistency. 

Operational Working Party

The first meeting was held in August 2017. The Operational Working Party will work in conjunction with the ESORT and the Younger Veterans’ Forum. The OWP will take on specific needs and issues and will consist of a different membership than the other two forums. 

Veteran Centric Reform

The DC provided an overview of Veteran Centric Reform, particularly the assistance provided to members transitioning from the ADF into civilian life. The simpler claim processes and the advancements of technology to assist with ‘straight-through processing’ and the advent of the new MyService claim portal means that veterans will be able to navigate the claim process more easily. There are currently 15 conditions that will be automatically assessed using ‘straight-through processing’, based on the member’s service record and the expected conditions arising from the nature of that service. Additional conditions are being assessed for ‘straight-through’ status by the Commission. The Deputy Commissioner reaffirmed that advocates will always be needed and valued, although their role may evolve.

Advocacy, Training and Development Program (ATDP)

The ATD program replaced the Training and Information Program (TIP) and the move has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of volunteer advocates. The transition has not run smoothly and the WA Forum has significant issues with the current management of this program.

A wide range of feedback was discussed and the Deputy Commissioner has taken that on board and will contact the relevant teams and ask for further discussion about a way forward in addressing the concerns.

Discussion Topics

Ministerial Statement

The Forum drew attention to the recently published Ministerial Statement (pg 16) about the call for ESOs to join forces.

The Constant Battle: A report into Veteran Suicide.

The report is now available from the APH Website. DVA is drafting a response to Senate which will be tabled in November 2017.

Veterans Review Board

There is a continued desire for veterans to be allowed legal representation at the VRB. The new Alternate Dispute Resolution Pathway should solve some of these concerns. 

Vietnam Nominal Roll

The new beta site is reported to be not as user friendly and has some functionality issues, particularly with the Service filter. All users of the beta test site as asked to complete the feedback form on the site to assist with improving the site before launch.

Heart Health Program

A suggestion was made that the Heart Health provider advertise upcoming programs to ESOs. If your ESO would like to be on the Heart Health Mailing list, please email hearthealth [at] chm.com.au and request to be included.

Next Meeting – 21st November 2017