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ESO Round Table - summary of meeting 10 November 2016

The Ex-Service Organisation Round Table (ESORT) met for the 35th time in Canberra on 10 November 2016.

The Chair welcomed Mr Peter Fitzpatrick AM JP as the newly-elected National Chairman of the Australian Special Air Service Association.

The Chair and members also thanked and acknowledged Mr Russell Pettis FAIM, who was attending his final meeting after six years on the ESORT representing the Naval Association of Australia.


Members were updated on the Department’s Transformation initiatives, including the work on the client journey and the Client Satisfaction Survey.

Transformation updates will become a standing agenda item for future ESORT meetings as the Department’s work in this area progresses.

DVA Reconnects

The ESORT was updated on the progress of the DVA Reconnects Project. The project aims to reconnect with clients through the provisions of a complex and multiple needs assessment.

Members were advised of the three phases of implementation, with feedback received from clients contacted during the process being overwhelmingly positive. A full report will be provided to the ESORT once the project is finalised.

Ex-Service Organisation (ESO) National Leaders Strategy Meeting

Members also discussed the outcomes from the ESO National Leaders Strategy Meeting on 31 October 2016. This meeting arose from both the most recent ESORT and Defence ESO Briefing Day.

ESORT members, and other prominent figures in the ex-service community, met to discuss how all ESOs could collaboratively work together more effectively.

The ESORT was advised a ‘Compact’ will be drafted from the outcomes of this meeting, and circulated to the ESOs for all to consider for adoption.

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment (Defence Force) Bill 2016 – DRCA Bill

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment (Defence Force) Bill 2016 (DRCA Bill) was discussed with members. This Bill has been tabled in Parliament, will be debated in the Autumn 2017 sitting and, if passed, will come into effect on 1 July 2017.

The ESORT was advised that, should the new Act be passed by Parliament, eligibility and benefits under the new Act will be the same as those currently available to serving and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members under the existing Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA). If passed, the new Act will be the same as the current SRCA, so there will be no change to existing entitlements or access to benefits.

Non-Liability Health Care

The 2016-17 budget measure to expand eligibility for Non-Liability Health Care was another point of discussion. The measure is now in effect, and means that all those who have served in the ADF permanent forces, are now eligible for health care for a range of mental health conditions without needing to prove that the condition has arisen from, or is linked to, their service.

The conditions covered under this arrangement are:

  • post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • depressive disorder;
  • anxiety disorder;
  • alcohol use disorder; and
  • substance use disorder.


Members were addressed by Mr Paul Way, Director General, Defence Community Organisation, on the Department of Defence’s work on transition for discharging members of the ADF.

Aged Care Update

An update was provided on aged care, particularly in regards to the two stages of increasing choice in home care and the implementation of the Short-Term Restorative Care Program.

The first stage in increasing choice in home care involves funding for a home care package following the consumer from February 2017, with the scope and timing of stage two yet to be determined.

Updates on ESORT Working Groups

The ESORT was provided with updates from two of its working groups:

  • Hearing Services Working Group; and
  • Permanent Impairment Working Party.

Member Submission: Returned and Services League of Australia

Members heard a presentation from the Returned and Services League of Australia regarding its transformation narrative.

The next meeting of the ESORT will be held in March 2017.

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