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Terms of Reference—Rehabilitation Advisory Committee

(To be read in conjunction with the Operating Principles at Attachment A.)


The aim of the DVA and Defence Rehabilitation Advisory Committee (RAC) is to provide technical and professional advice to the Commissions and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) and the Department of Defence (Defence) on matters such as rehabilitation programs, policies and practice relating to veterans, former and current serving defence members. Specifically the RAC will advise on the following:

  1. development and recommendation of mechanisms for design and delivery of models of integrated medical management, psychosocial and vocational or occupational rehabilitation
  2. development of criteria to be considered for use by DVA and Defence for the assessment of veterans, former and serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members to determine suitability for rehabilitation programs
  3. advice on quality assurance standards for the provision of rehabilitation services to veterans, former and serving ADF members for DVA and Defence internal processes and external provider organisations. This will include better practice standards in rehabilitation assessment, rehabilitation plan development, plan activities and closure processes, provided for veterans, former and serving ADF members
  4. current rehabilitation practices, techniques and methodologies that would be most likely to achieve positive outcomes
  5. input to DVA and Defence communication strategies about rehabilitation for veterans, and former and serving ADF members participating in rehabilitation programs
  6. advice on the content and direction of provider and staff education programs for delivering rehabilitation to veterans, and former and serving ADF members
  7. promoting awareness and marketing the availability and benefits of rehabilitation to the veteran, former and serving ADF community
  8. when required, establish working groups comprising members according to their corresponding skills and specialist knowledge areas and commensurate with the working group's focus.


The RAC shall be co-chaired by the First Assistant Secretary, Rehabilitation & Support Division (DVA) and the Director General, Mental Health, Psychology and Rehabilitation (Defence), or their nominees. Membership will comprise experts from a range of rehabilitation related fields including research and academia, industry representatives and practitioners involved in rehabilitation service delivery. Membership is based on professional expertise or affiliation with particular rehabilitation industry organisations or institutions.

The RAC has an advisory role only, therefore there is no decision-making capacity and no requirement to define voting procedures.

The Secretary will make all appointments of members. Members who are Government employees are appointed based on office.

Term of Office and Review

Members will be appointed to the RAC for a term of three years. Membership and terms of reference are to be reviewed at the end of each term. This will ensure relevancy of members based on their current expertise and appropriateness of the purpose and effectiveness of the RAC.

Meeting Frequency and Protocols

The RAC meets annually in person or via phone/videoconferencing with workshops on specific issues as required. Advice on relevant matters may be requested from members out of session.

Key protocols for meetings and workshops include:

  • Members shall declare any potential conflict of interest. The Chair will decide as to whether that member should absent themselves from the identified issue for its discussion.
  • Confidentiality of RAC discussions will be maintained at all times. No RAC member has authority to make representations on behalf of the RAC.
  • Correspondence from any member (either absent or present) of the RAC can be tabled and considered.
  • The Chair will determine relevant invited guests and experts to attend meetings and workshops.


The RAC will provide advice through the Chair to all relevant areas of DVA and Defence as appropriate to the specific issues addressed.


Secretariat functions for the RAC are to be provided by Rehabilitation Policy and Reform Branch staff.

Attachment A—Operating Principles

1. Overview

  1. 1.1—The joint DVA and Defence Rehabilitation Advisory Committee (RAC) provides expert advice to both the Department of Veterans' Affairs and Department of Defence on rehabilitation matters. The RAC assists DVA and Defence in making informed choices regarding its rehabilitation programs, policies and practice. It also provides a forum for identifying new Australian and international research and best practice activities and approaches in rehabilitation.

2. Appointments and resignations

  1. 2.1—Members are appointed by the DVA Secretary. Non-Government members will be appointed to the RAC for up to three years on DVA's acceptance of their nomination.
  2. 2.2—A member may resign from the RAC or associated working group/s by giving notice at a meeting or in writing to the Chair. If a member representing an organisation resigns, the organisation will be asked to nominate a replacement for the remainder of the three year term.

3. Membership

  1. 3.1—DVA and Defence members are ex-officio. Additional rehabilitation industry representatives, stakeholders and departmental advisers may be invited to attend any RAC meeting, as appropriate.
  2. 3.2—Membership comprises representatives from the following organisations and ex-officio members:

Association members

See also: Members

Position/Organisation Member name Appointment commenced
Australian Society of Rehabilitation Counsellors (ASORC) Representative Ms Tania Dhillon July 2011
Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA) Mr Chris Foley December 2016
Director, Phoenix Australia Professor David Forbes July 2011
Comcare Mr Gary Jeffery December 2016
Ageing, Work and Health Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney Associate Professor Lynda Matthews May 2004
Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) Dr John Silver December 2016
Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA) Ms Olivia Milgate September 2017

DVA Ex-officio members

  • Co-Chair, First Assistant Secretary, Rehabilitation & Support Division
  • First Assistant Secretary, Health & Community Services
  • Principal Medical Adviser
  • Deputy Commissioner, Tasmania
  • Senior Responsible Officer for Rehabilitation

Defence Ex-officio member

  • Co-Chair, Director General, Mental Health, Psychology and Rehabilitation
  • Assistant Director, ADF Rehabilitation

4. Members' roles and responsibilities

  1. 4.1—Members are expected to be available for face-to-face or phone/videoconference meetings; however if this is not possible, a proxy can be appointed.
  2. 4.2—Members or their proxies must disclose or take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with their appointment or attendance at RAC meetings.
  3. 4.3—Members will be canvassed for relevant agenda topics and provide background papers to the secretariat at least 3 months before the annual meeting. Members will ensure qualified representation of the position of the organisations they represent to enable informed and non-speculative discourse.
  4. 4.4—Members or their proxies who attend a meeting must agree not to use or disclose confidential information (including personal information) for a purpose other than the purpose for which it was collected. This means that details of discussions at meetings are not to be used or disclosed outside meetings. Members or their proxies agree to store committee documentation safely and securely, and in accordance with the Archives Act 1983. In the event that a member is unsure about the appropriate use or storage of committee documentation, advice should be sought from the secretariat at the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

5. Conduct of Business

  1. 5.1—The Chair may regulate proceedings at meetings as he or she considers appropriate.
  2. 5.2—If the Chair is absent from a meeting or part of a meeting, he/she will nominate a temporary Chair.
  3. 5.3—DVA will ensure timely notification of meetings and, as far as possible, provide draft meeting papers electronically prior to meetings. Minutes will be taken and will include a record of any action items.
  4. 5.4—Members or proxies will act in the best interests of the RAC.

6. Sitting Fees, Travel, Accommodation and Associated Expenses

  1. 6.1—DVA pays for reasonable travel and accommodation requirements for RAC members who are not members of Government agencies. Members are not paid sitting fees to attend meetings.
  2. 6.2—DVA will provide catering for meetings that are over four hours long with costs over $300 requiring Assistant Secretary approval.

7. RAC Support

  1. 7.1—Secretariat support will be provided by DVA and will include:
    • circulating the minutes for comments and updating them as required
    • preparing meeting agendas in consultation with Defence and clearing the agenda with the Chair
    • distributing the agenda and meeting papers
    • acting as a contact point for all queries regarding the RAC
    • making travel and accommodation arrangements.

8. Secretariat Contact Details

  1. 8.1—The postal address for correspondence is:

    Department of Veterans' Affairs
    Attn: DVA/Defence Rehabilitation Advisory Committee Secretariat
    GPO Box 9998

  2. 8.2—The e-mail address for correspondence is

See also: Members—Rehabilitation Advisory Committee
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