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ESO Round Table - summary of meeting 11 August 2017

The Ex-Service Organisation Round Table (ESORT) met for the 37th time in Canberra on 11 August 2017.

The meeting was attended by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, who launched the Engage Portal, a Department of Defence sponsored system that allows ESOs and other registered organisations to record their contact details and services offered for use by serving and ex-serving ADF members. The Minister advised members that he was making a statement to Parliament on Monday, 14 August 2017, and invited the ESO members to prepare a collective response to his statement and that the response would be tabled by him in Parliament.

The Minister advised members of the retirement of David Jamison, President of the Defence Force Welfare Association. He commented on the professional manner in which David had engaged with him on behalf of all veterans and their families, hosting him at the local RSL and always providing frank and fearless advice.

The Chair welcomed MAJGEN Paul Irving, from the Defence Reserves Association to his first meeting as a new member of the ESORT and echoed the Minister’s comments in relation to Mr Jamison’s involvement with the department.

Health & Community Services Update

Members were updated on free services provided by the Department of Health in relation to the National Aged Care Advocacy Program with a focus on issues involving the Aged Care Complains Commissioner. Members also received updates relating to the Dental and Allied Health Review; Booked car with driver arrangements; Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme; and Defence Service Homes Insurance.

Rehabilitation & Support Update

Members were advised that the Department has progressed a number of key initiatives as part of DVA’s continuous improvement program for rehabilitation including: Education and Tertiary Study guidelines; PM’s Veterans Employment Program; communication activities; Vehicle Assistance Scheme; Psychological policy guidelines; Assistance dogs; and progress of the MRCA Rehabilitation long-term study.  

Transformation

Members were updated on the Department’s Transformation initiatives, including the Government’s commitment to the establishment of a Joint Taskforce to assist with improving the experience of people as they leave the ADF and move into the next phase of their lives after service.  

Australian War Memorial

Members were addressed by Ms Anne Bennie and provided with an introduction to the operations of the Memorial and provided with an update on the remaining commemorative events and activities for 2017.

Client & Commemorations

Members were updated on Domestic and International commemorations that the Department will be planning for, and delivering in 2018.

National Mental Health Commission

Members were addressed by Dr Peggy Brown on the results from the review into the Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention and services available to current and former serving ADF members and their families.

Commonwealth Ombudsman

Members were addressed by Mr Michael Manthorpe on the role of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and discussed linkages with the work undertaken by DVA.

National Collaboration

Mr Andrew Condon provided members with an update on work undertaken by the Steering Committee to further enhance ESO National Collaboration.

Member Submissions

Presentations were received from the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia; Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia; TPI Federation of Australia; The Royal Australian Regiment Corporation and the Australian SAS Association on the following topics:

  • Permanent Impairment Working Party
  • Online Claims Processing
  • ESORT Hearing Services Working Group
  • Fraud – Issue, or not, for DVA and the Veteran Community
  • Gallipoli Monuments
  • Women’s Health Peer Education
  • Changes to DVA and Associated Legislation; and
  • VRB Changes under the Omnibus Bill 2017.

The next meeting of the ESORT will be held in Canberra on Friday 10 November 2017.

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