Skip to Content

ESO Round Table - summary of meeting 12 August 2014

The Ex-Service Organisation Round Table (ESORT) met for the 27th time in Canberra on
12 August 2014.

The following member submission was discussed at the meeting:

Information Provided to Recently Bereaved War Widows

Members discussed the provision of general information to recently bereaved war widows regarding ex-service organisations (ESOs).

Members were provided with Departmental updates on the following :

Redevelopment of DVA Website

The DVA website is being redeveloped and the updated website is expected to be launched in late 2014.  The new presentation will be less cluttered, the content will be rewritten to make it easier to understand and easier to find things and the updated site will also be more compatible with mobile device technology.  Members were provided with a sample of the proposed new format.

Anzac Centenary Public Fund / Logo / Merchandising

Members were advised that the first corporate donations to the Public Fund have been received and the fund is now open to the public.  Donations can be made through the DVA website or National Australia Bank Branches, but not DVA VAN offices.  Information on the use of the Anzac Centenary Logo has been mailed out to every RSL sub-branch, and DVA is liaising with the Australian War Memorial regarding merchandising arrangements.

Anzac Centenary Programme Implementation Update

Members were provided with an update on the implementation of the Anzac Centenary Programme, with a focus on the commemorations to be held at Albany in Western Australia. 

Deregulation Agenda

Members were provided with a paper outlining the government’s deregulation reform agenda which focuses on eliminating unnecessary regulation that imposes a burden on clients, businesses and community organisations.  The key features of the reform agenda were explained and the Chair informed members that DVA will reduce red tape through moving to more interactions with clients and providers online.

National War Cemetery

A discussion paper is being developed on a potential National War Cemetery. Key issues will include the need for a National War Cemetery, determining the eligibility for interment in the cemetery, and the relationship with the existing places and programs of commemoration. Once released the discussion paper will be on the DVA website and members were encouraged to provide comments and feedback.

Sir John Monash Centre

Members discussed the proposed interpretive centre for the Western Front to be located at Villers-Bretonneux.  The proposed centre will be located close to the Australian National Memorial with a planned opening around 25 April 2018.  It has been decided to name the centre the “Sir John Monash Centre”.

BEST Round 16

Members received an update on the Building Excellence in Support and Training programme (BEST) Round 16 and agreed that consultation regarding refinement of the BEST calculation formula for the 2015/16 BEST round should begin as soon as practical to ensure grant offers are made in July 2015.

Review of Veterans Advocacy Training

The committee discussed the current Review of Veterans Advocacy Training. Consultation is still underway and to date there have been a wide range of conflicting opinions in the feedback received.  There are concerns regarding the age of veteran advocates compared to the younger veteran cohort. Many of the advocates are from the Vietnam era and have an in depth knowledge of the Veterans’ Entitlement Act (VEA), but are less knowledgeable of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA) and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (SRCA).
Members were informed that the review to date had focused on three options in moving forward to achieve more consistent training outcomes: revitalising TIP and its relationships with DVA and the ESO community; having DVA undertake development and coordination of training packages and their delivery, or outsourcing the training through a commercial arrangement.

MRCA Education Campaign

An overview was provided on progress in implementing three of the recommendations made by the Review of Military Compensation Arrangements.  These recommendations relate to educating current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and ESO representatives on the three pieces of legislation governing military compensation, facilitating a greater understanding of transitional arrangements, and educating serving members on the full range of benefits provided under MRCA.
Communications activities utilising existing channels will begin between September and November 2014 to make people aware of entitlements through DVA, Defence and ComSuper. 

Veterans’ Employment Initiative

Members received an update on the progress of strategies to improve vocational rehabilitation, and in particular, a program in Southeast Queensland which will start next month.  The program is designed to do more to assist veterans with vocational rehabilitation, focussing on assisting veterans into civilian employment.  This initial program will cover around fifty veterans and run for at least six months.  The participants will be assisted through a three month work trial with selected employers and effective and regular communication with veteran participants will be important during the pilot.

Review of Statutory Timeframes

Members were informed of the Review of Statutory Timeframes that was tabled in Parliament on 26 June 2014 and advised that the minister is strongly emphasizing the need to reduce the time taken to process claims by the Department. Members noted that claims processing times for the VEA were now meeting the targets. Claims processing times for MRCA have reduced from 155 to 144 days and the processing times for SRCA claims have reduced from 171 days to 160 days.  DVA stressed the need for veterans to submit claims earlier and include supporting documentation when the claim is lodged.

Proof of Identity Requirements – ADF ID Card

From 1 September 2014 DVA will introduce streamlined Proof of Identity requirements for current serving members and reservists.  This avoids them having to prove their identity using the 100 point check system.  Those with a current purple ADF service identification card can access these arrangements through the on-base advisory service, at a DVA VAN office or through DVA’s third party shopfront arrangements with the Department of Human Services (DHS).

2014 DVA Health Card Reissue

Members were provided with an overview of the bulk DVA Health Card Reissue that was completed on 24 June 2014, during which DVA reissued approximately 230,000 Gold, White and Orange DVA Health Cards.

Changes to DVA Statistics

The committee were provided with an overview of the changes to DVA demographics publications, including the latest “Stats at a Glance” cards which are available through the Deputy Commissioners or state based ESO fora.

Draft Social Health Strategy 2014 for Veteran and Ex-Service Community

Members received an update on the Draft Social Health Strategy 2014 for Veteran and Ex-service Community which is open for public comment until the end of September 2014. The proposed strategy will help to guide and inform the Department with development of its social health support services for DVA’s client groups now and into the future.  The members noted that the Draft Social Health Strategy 2014 for Veteran and Ex-service Community is available for public comment.

Proposed Amendments to the Repatriation Private Patient Principles

The members noted the Department’s intention to propose changes to the Repatriation Private Patient Principles.  The change focuses on allowing veterans to elect to be treated in a private room if they pay for the surcharge. The set prices paid by DVA are based on shared rooms, unless there is a clinical reason for a private room. Many private health funds would cover the cost of the upgrade from a shared to a private room, but the DVA policy currently does not allow this.  Members endorsed the Department’s proposal to amend the Repatriation Private Patient Principles to reflect the current National Consultation Framework arrangements and to allow for third party insurers to pay for private room accommodation.

Review of Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR)

A representative from the Department of Health informed members of the recommendations to come out of a review of PCEHR and its implementation to date. Currently the program is an opt in system, with users needing to register in order to use PCEHR.  To date approximately 1.8 million people have registered and nearly 7500 providers have also registered.  Due to concerns regarding the low usage of the system by providers, the Minister for Health announced a review into the implementation of PCEHR.  One of the key recommendations was to change the system to an opt out system. It also recommended the inclusion of pathology and diagnostic results.  The final decision on whether the program will change to an opt out arrangement is yet to be made.

Access to CLIK Update / ESO Portal

Members were updated on work being done to update the Consolidated Library of Information and Knowledge (CLIK), as well as work currently being done in developing an ESO Portal.  The new portal will allow ESOs to check the status of claims online and allow work to be carried out outside of business hours.  The portal is based on the Veteran Home Care Portal that has been piloted recently and is aimed at being simple and intuitive to use.

Consultation re Proposed Rehabilitation and Compensation Operating Model

Members were informed of the current consultation that is being carried out with respect to a proposed Rehabilitation and Compensation (R&C) Operating Model.  The model looks at developing a greater level of cross training within staff and reducing the need for staff who specialise in particular functions.  The consultation is in parallel to the business improvement work being done in the compensation area.

Borneo and Malaya Campaign Nominal Roll

Members discussed the issue of the compilation of an official Nominal Roll to cover the Borneo and Malaya Campaign following a paper submitted to the group by Michael von Berg proposing the use of already published lists of names.  DVA agreed to look at the option to determine what issues and costs would arise from such an approach, compared to creating a roll from scratch.

Veterans’ Affairs Consultation Framework – Forum Updates

Members received updates from the Younger Veterans’ Contemporary Needs Forum (YVF); National Aged and Community Care Forum (NACCF); Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Veterans’ Mental Health (PMAC) and the State and Territory Forums.

Under Other Business the Chair advised that the minister had requested one ESO representative be included in the official party for the Anzac Centenary commemorations in Turkey in April 2015.  Members discussed who would be most appropriate to represent ESOs at the Anzac Centenary and unanimously agreed that it should be the RSL.
The next meeting will be held in November 2014.

Average: 1.6 (5 votes)