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ESO Round Table - summary of meeting 14 May 2013

The Ex-Service Organisation (ESO) Round Table met for the 22nd time in Canberra and by video conference in various locations on 14 May 2013. Prior to the Budget announcement by Treasurer Swan at 7.30pm, members were provided with a closed session briefing on DVA Budget initiatives and measures announced as part of the 2013/14 Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Federal Budget.

Budget Briefing – DVA Initiatives / Measures

The Secretary advised the Budget contains $12.5 billion for the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio which includes:

  • $6.8 billion for income support and compensation (approximately $150 million Departmental and $6.7 billion Administered);
  • $5.6 billion for health initiatives (approximately $130 million Departmental and $5.5 billion Administered); and
  • $85.0 million for commemorative activities (approximately $23 million Departmental and $62.5 million Administered).

The Budget package includes:

  • an expansion of Mental Health Services;
  • additional funding for the Anzac Centenary Program;'
    • including seed funding to the Australian War Memorial for the Anzac Centenary Travelling Exhibition.
  • reclassification of Australian Defence Force Service (Third Country Deployments in Afghanistan) as warlike;
  • a range of cross portfolio measures (Department of Health of Ageing); and
  • redirection of the National Partnership on Home and Community Care and Services to Veterans.

The Secretary confirmed $49.2 billion will be allocated to the Department over the four years forward estimates period.

DVA’s reduced operational funding has no impact on service delivery to veterans and existing veterans’ home care services and programs will not be impacted by this initiative.

Members were advised that both the National Boer War Memorial and the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial have been granted Deductible Gift Recipient Status.

Commemorations

Anzac Day 2013

Members were advised attendance numbers for the 2013 Dawn services on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey and Villers-Bretonneux, France respectively, and there is an expectation that attendance numbers will continue to increase in the lead up to the Anzac Centenary in 2015.

DVA continues to support other Anzac Day commemorative activities including the Dawn services at Bomana War Cemetery, Isurava, Hellfire Pass and in 2013 DVA led a mission to Thailand commemorating the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the construction of Hellfire Pass.

Gallipoli Ballot

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Anzac Centenary and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, announced ballot arrangements for Australians planning to attend the Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli on 25 April 2015, via a media release on 13 May 2013.

Members were advised the Gallipoli 2015 website (www.gallipoli2015.dva.gov.au) has detailed information relating to the ballot and commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015.

Registration for the ballot opens 1 November 2013 and closes 31 January 2014.

The important role of tour operators was acknowledged, particularly in the lead up to Gallipoli in 2015. The department will continue to engage with operators as has been the case since 2010.

Other business

The Chair advised the next ESO Round Table meeting will be held 15 August 2013.

The meeting was closed at 7:45pm.

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