From the Assistant Minister

Assistant Minister Matt Thistlethwaite

In exciting news, we are just days away from the start of the Invictus Games in Düsseldorf. The Games is an adaptive multi-sport competition for veterans and serving personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service.

I was thrilled to announce the co-captains and meet the 31 athletes of Team Australia before they headed off to Germany (see this article). I am sure you will join with me in wishing all our athletes the very best of luck. Go Aussies!

As many of you now, transition can be a testing time in the life of someone exiting the ADF. One of the best signs of a successful transition is movement into meaningful employment soon after leaving the ADF.

Recently, Minister Keogh and I visited BRAVO Electrical & HVAC, a successful, veteran-owned business in my electorate of Kingsford Smith where eighty per cent of staff are veterans.

Veterans gain vital skills during their time in the military, such as leadership, teamwork, agility, discipline, and the ability to handle pressure – all highly sought-after in today’s economy.

BRAVO shows the unique value veterans bring to employers and is an example of what can be achieved when employers are helped to understand the advantages of hiring veterans and supported to retain them. The Government’s new $24 million Veteran Employment Program reinforces our commitment to veterans, recognising their diverse skills and facilitating their transition to civilian life.

Back in April, I had the honour of representing Australia at the Anzac Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial in France, near the village of Villers-Bretonneux. It was on the Western Front that Australia suffered its greatest losses in the First World War. This year also marked the 105th anniversary of the Battles of Villers-Bretonneux, where Australian and British troops defended and then took back the town from the advancing German forces.

I was proud to pay tribute to the service of the hundreds of thousands of Australians who answered our nation’s call, and the hundreds more thousands who have answered it since.

Just two days earlier, I was delighted to be at the launch of The Legacy Centenary Torch Relay at Pozières – a place steeped in Australian sacrifice. For 100 years, Legacy has supported the families of Australian service personnel who have died or lost their health as a result of their service. I was lucky to catch up with the relay again recently in Tamworth (NSW) and at Hyde Park in Sydney. It was a great honour to carry the torch on a small leg of the relay and count among the 1,500 torch bearers who are taking the torch on its six-month journey to visit all 44 Legacy Clubs in Australia (and 45 world-wide).

The Australian Government is proud to have provided a one-off grant of $400,000 to support Legacy’s centenary commemorative activities. On behalf of the Government and our veteran community, I thank Legacy for the wonderful work it has done over the past 100 years!