TEHAN - JOINT COMMUNIQUE Veterans’ Ministers meeting

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JOINT COMMUNIQUE - Veterans’ Ministers meeting

Dan Tehan

The second Roundtable of Ministers responsible for veteran issues has reinforced the need to coordinate effort across all levels of government to ensure the successful transition of those Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel moving from military to civilian life.

.Issues discussed at the Roundtable included improved transition, mental health and suicide prevention, improving employment outcomes for veterans, veteran accommodation and assisting veterans who had been incarcerated.

The Roundtable was updated on initiatives in the Federal budget to enhance veteran rehabilitation and transform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) as well as the expanded package of mental health support worth $31 million that was announced as part of the Government’s response to the Senate Inquiry into veterans’ suicide.

A commitment by all governments was given to information sharing across agencies to assist in improving transition across all jurisdictions.

States and Territories agreed to examine the feasibility of collecting data on veteran incarceration and to promote non-liability health care for any mental health condition to those who have served one day in the full-time ADF.

As a step towards destigmatising Post Traumatic Stress, Ministers agreed to refrain from using the term disorder and agreed to encourage their ministerial health colleagues to do the same.

The Roundtable supported the establishment of a Veteran Support Services Accreditation Association that would enable Ex Service Organisations delivering services to veterans to obtain formal accreditation.

The Roundtable reached consensus on a common definition of veteran that is to be recognised by all jurisdictions. It was agreed that a veteran would be defined as ‘a person who is serving or has served in the ADF’. Ministers agreed use of the term veteran should not be limited by the definitions contained in existing legislation.

Ministers agreed there needed to be a question about veterans in the next Australian Census. This will assist all levels of government to better support services and support to veterans and their families.

Ministers agreed to establish a working party to explore the harmonisation of veterans’ concessions across jurisdictions.

The Ministers also agreed to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day in 2018 with a nation-wide campaign to acknowledge a minute’s silence at 11am.

The next Veterans’ Ministers’ Roundtable in 2018 will occur in conjunction with the Transition Symposium and the Invictus Games in Sydney.

Federal Minister for Veterans' Affairs the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans Affairs New South Wales the Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans Victoria the Hon John Eren MP, Minister for Housing, Veterans Issues and Youth Western Australia the Hon Peter Tinley AM MLA, Government Whip South Australia the Hon Tom Kenyon MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Community and Veterans’ Affairs Tasmania Ms Sarah Courtney MP, Minister for Veterans Australian Capital Territory Mr Gordon Ramsay MLA and Assistant Minister for Veterans Affairs representing the Chief Minister Northern Territory Mr Tony Sievers MLA attended the Roundtable. Given Queensland is in caretaker mode, Queensland was represented by the Department. 

8 November 2017

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.


HEALTH - Online Program Gives Veterans Tools To Thrive

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RAL Qld Branch

Veterans struggling with transition and mental health issues will be able to access online peer-to-peer support through a new pilot partnership from RSL Queensland and Survive to Thrive Nation.

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The pilot will enable veterans to access the Post War: Survive to Thrive personal development coaching program.

RSL Queensland General Manager Scott Denner said Survive to Thrive provided a valuable forum for veterans to build resilience and regain control of their lives.
“A significant difference with the Survive to Thrive program is that it has been developed by a veteran to address the issues he was facing in his own life,” Mr Denner said.
“There is sometimes a perception among veterans that civilian health professionals cannot understand what they are going through, but they can recognise the military mindset that underlies the Survive to Thrive program.
“As well as providing personal development coaching, Survive to Thrive allows veterans to connect with others who have been through similar experiences and come out the other side.”
“It is also a great option for veterans who are living in rural or remote areas, who may have limited access to face-to-face support programs,” Mr Denner said.
He said an independent evaluation by the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) indicated that veterans experienced positive outcomes after participating in the program, particularly if combined with clinical therapies.

Survive to Thrive founder and former infantry soldier Dane Christison said he had developed the program after suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) himself.

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“I began clinical treatment, but I found the courses and programs were tailored for civilians; they didn’t answer the questions I had,” Mr Christison said.
“It wasn’t until I stopped blaming everyone else and took back the power for my own recovery that I began to see how I could move forward.
“Survive to Thrive teaches participants to accept their situation but not tolerate it. We give them the training structure and tools to allow them to take control of their own recovery and boost their wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem.”

Former Army bomb disposal technician Corey Stamp said Survive to Thrive had made a big difference in his life since he discharged two years ago.
“It was what I needed when I got out,” Mr Stamp said.
“I had a breakdown after my first tour of Afghanistan in 2010 but I wanted to go back so I just suppressed everything I was feeling.
“To a certain extent, Defence provides a safety blanket – losing that, combined with losing the routine and all my mates was a real shock to the system.
“Survive to Thrive gave me back the structure that I was missing from Defence, as well as giving me the strength to take ownership of what I was going through and to stop playing the victim,” he said.

Mr Denner said through the pilot program, RSL would provide licences to eligible veterans who might not otherwise be able to afford the program.
“Veterans will get ongoing 24/7 access to the Survive to Thrive portal, including eight coaching modules and an online support group where participants encourage, inspire and motivate each other.”
Veterans interested in the program should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.survivetothrivenation.com/contact-us

DVA - Accessing mental health support, abuse compensation made simpler

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Advice From DVA that can be used as an Information article for distribution to our Defence Family.

Are you struggling to cope because of something that happened to you in the Australian Defence Force (ADF)?

All current and former members of the ADF who have at least one day continuous full-time service, including Reservists, are able to access treatment for any mental health condition. The condition does not have to be related to ADF service and a diagnosis is not required.

To access treatment, call 1800 555 254 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service also provides the veteran community and their families with specialist free counselling and group programs.

This service is available at all times by phoning 1800 011 046, or via its website at www.vvcs.gov.au.

If your condition relates to having been sexually or physically abused while serving, DVA has introduced measures that may make it simpler for you to access compensation and to receive the mental health support you need.

DVA has broadened the use of statutory declarations as part of abuse compensation claims, making it possible for such a declaration to constitute sufficient evidence to establish that abuse took place, in some instances.

For example, if you were abused before 11 April 2011 and you were a child at the time, a statutory declaration alone will now be sufficient to establish that an abuse event occurred (provided that there is no contradictory evidence).

Please note, however, that if you were an adult at the time of the abuse, or the abuse took place after 11 April 2011, supporting evidence will also be required in addition to a statutory declaration. A statutory declaration in these instances will be taken as strong evidence in favour of the claim.

Claims will be determined on the basis of all available evidence.

These changes make it easier to prove that abuse occurred, if it was not reported at the time. This change will benefit those who may not have reported abuse at the time it occurred or may never have previously spoken about it.

DVA has established dedicated teams to manage all new claims relating to sexual and physical abuse, ensuring that all claims are managed with sensitivity and discretion.


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30 October 2017

On the 2 November 75 years ago, Australian soldiers retook the village of Kokoda in Papua New Guinea.


Between July and November 1942, Australian forces fought the numerically stronger Japanese in abysmal conditions along the Kokoda Track, sustaining more than 600 dead and more than 1,600 wounded or struck down by illness or disease.

The Australians forced the Japanese into retreat, culminating in battles at the Beachheads which came at an enormous cost — more than 1,200 Australian lives lost and more than 2,000 wounded.

Today, I ask all Australians to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice of these great Australians and of all those who served on the Kokoda Track and at the Beachheads during the Second World War.

We also remember the estimated 50,000 Papuan civilians who provided supplies to Australian soldiers and evacuated our sick and wounded.

Lest we forget.

Mefloquine – Two Decades of Damage

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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has used the controversial anti-malarial drugs mefloquine and tafenoquine for more than two decades, despite scientific evidence linking them to brain damage and poor mental health.

In spite of the drug manufacturers clear warnings of risk, many service men and women were carelessly given these drugs in poorly conducted drug trials. Many now suffer from serious, chronic illnesses affecting their nervous system and mental health.

The majority of those who have sought medical help have been diagnosed and medicated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental illnesses without having been referred to brain injury specialists.

This has led to further decline in health, disabling drug reactions, medical mistreatment, family breakdowns, homelessness and in some cases suicide.

QVFA 15The Quinoline Veterans and Families Association (QVFA) was established by veterans and their families to support those whose lives have been affected by the disabling side effects of these toxic drugs.

This grassroots veteran community group has been striving to raise awareness about this issue and seeking dedicated support for affected veterans and their families.

QVFA does not receive any financial assistance or funding from any government or other veterans charities.

It is now seeking donations from the community to fund world leading research into the toxic effects of these drugs, and to establish a dedicated rehabilitation program for the affected veterans and their families.

We urgently need your help before we lose more veterans to family breakdowns, homelessness and suicide.

ADSO endorses the QVFA’s campaign and encourages everyone to support it with donations to their appeal and representation of the issue to your local Federal and State MPs.

Remember, approximately 5,000 ADF personnel have been given mefloquine or tafenoquine, the majority (just under 3,000) in a series of drug trials conducted by the Army Malarial Institute (AMI) in Bougainville and East Timor from 1998 to 2002.

Hugh Rimmington from Channel 10 News has produced a very good overview introducing the issues surrounding Quinoline to the Australian public which you can view here.

Tehan Media Release - $31 million in additional funding for veteran mental health

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24 October 2017

The Government will provide an additional $31 million to support veterans’ mental health as part of its response to the Senate Inquiry into veterans’ suicide.

As the Prime Minister has said, we best honour the diggers of 1917 by ensuring our veterans in 2017 receive the support they need and deserve. When someone stops serving their country it is their country’s turn to start serving them.

The Turnbull Government has made veterans mental health a priority. An additional $58.6 million in mental health funding was provided in this year’s Budget.

Today, the Turnbull Government commits an additional $31 million to support veterans as part of its response to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference’s committee report The Constant Battle: Suicide by veterans.

The Government will provide:

• $16.1 million over four years for a new Veteran Payment for financial vulnerable veterans claiming mental health conditions;

• $7.1 million over four years to extend support for families of veterans;

• $2.1 million over four years for an annual health assessment for ex-serving ADF members for the first five years post-discharge;

• $4.0 million over two years to pilot a case management service for transitioning or recently discharged ADF members;

• $1.7 million over two years to undertake a scoping study to professionalise veterans’ advocacy.

The Government has agreed to 22 of the 24 recommendations made in the Senate committee report and agreed-in-principle to the remaining two recommendations.

The Government has asked the Productivity Commission and the Australian National Audit Office to conduct reviews into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). These independent reviews will inform further improvements to DVA processes.

Other recommendations the Government has agreed to complement work already undertaken by the Government to further support veterans, such as:

• The $166.6 million investment in the veteran centric reform program announced in this year’s budget;

• The Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program launched in November last year;

• The Government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission Review into the Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Services released in June 2017;

• The ongoing Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports into the incidence of suicide among serving and ex-serving ADF personnel.

The Government is continuing to focus on improving the mental health services provided to our veterans. Mental health treatment works best when a veteran can get help early so the Government has made the treatment of any mental health condition free for anyone who has served one day in the fulltime ADF. The Government will now provide a DVA White Card to access mental health treatment through this program to all personnel leaving the military.

The Government would like to thank the members of the committee for their substantial work to complete this report and for their passion for improving mental health outcomes for veterans.


Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.


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Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today encouraged current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their family members to take part in events across Australia as part of the annual Veterans’ Health Week (VHW).

Mr Tehan said this year’s theme was ‘Physical Activity’ to promote the fitness, social and mental health benefits of staying active.

More than 200 events will be held across Australia from 21-29 October, with almost 14,000 veterans and their families expected to participate in various activities, including family fun days, golf, kayaking, surfing, cycling, yoga and bush walking.
“I encourage all current and former ADF members and their families to take part in a local event, get active and meet new people who share a common experience,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Government is committed to supporting the physical and mental health of our veterans. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has a range of programs in place to promote the health and wellbeing of the veteran community.”

Some of the health resources and support services include:
 The Heart Health Program which aims to help increase physical health and wellbeing through practical exercise, nutrition and lifestyle management support.

 Eligibility for a referral from a GP to see an Exercise Physiologist to help develop an exercise plan.

 The Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) that provides access to items to help eligible veterans get back to playing sport and being active.

For more information on any of this support visit www.dva.gov.au or phone 133 254.

For information about Veterans’ Health Week 2017, including event details, visit http://www.dva.gov.au/health-and-wellbeing/health-events/veterans-health-week.
21 October 2017


Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across
Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international:
+61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.


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In today's (17 October 2017) House of Representatives Questions without Notice Independent Senator Andrew Wilkie (TAS) asked the Prime Minister this question.

Hansard Reference - page 24

Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:18): 

"My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, the TPI Federation has written to you repeatedly, seeking a resolution to the dreadful situation where about 28,000 totally and permanently incapacitated veterans have seen their economic loss compensation fall to just 65 per cent of the minimum wage. Prime Minister, given the gravity of this issue, and the Parliamentary Budget Office's validation of the independent analysis supporting the claim by the TPI Federation, will you now take personal responsibility and intervene to facilitate an immediate increase of $176 a week in the economic loss compensation payments to Australia's TPI veterans?" 

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (14:19):

"I thank the honourable member for his question.

My grandfather was a member of the TPI Federation, and I know well the work of the federation and respect the advocacy they provide, particularly that of TPI Federation President Pat McCabe.

All Australians are immensely proud of our men and women in uniform. We thank them for their service and we owe them a debt we can never repay.

Ensuring our veterans have adequate support and compensation is a vitally important role of government and one to which I am personally deeply committed.

In gratitude for their service, the government provides $12 billion annually in pensions and services to veterans and their families.

We best honour the diggers of 1917 by providing the best support in every respect to the servicemen and servicewomen, and the veterans and their
families, of 2017.

The honourable member has raised the subject of the TPI pension in relation to the minimum wage. I can advise the honourable member that the TPI pension is currently $1,373.80 per fortnight. I'm further advised that more than 80 per cent of TPI pension recipients also receive income support payments, known as the service pension, of up to $894.40 per fortnight. It's important to recognise that the TPI pension is part of a package of benefits available to veterans, which can also include additional income support payments and medical coverage for all health conditions through the gold card.

In recognition of this important issue, I've asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs to work with his department and the TPI Federation to analyse the basis of the federation's research and the data used in it.

I want to thank the honourable member for raising these important issues and the TPI Federation for its ongoing role in representing the interests of Australia's veterans.

My government will always do the right thing by our veterans.

I recognise there are various components to these entitlements and this compensation, but I'm less interested in the definitional distinctions, which as a former serving officer the honourable member would no doubt have a keen insight into, than I am in making sure our veterans have the support they need.

I'm also interested in making sure they have financial support that is
appropriate and commensurate with their service, that if they need medical support and treatment it is provided, and that if they need psychological support for mental illness it is provided too.

I can assure the honourable member and all our veterans that my government is committed to them, just as they were committed to our nation in their days in uniform."

ADSO is encouraged by the Prime Minister's affirmation of his Government's commitment to veterans and their families well-being and protection of their service entitlements. Thank you PM.




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The DFRT today (11 October 2017) approved the Workplace Remuneration Arrangement (WRA) for the ADF for the three years to 2020.

ADF 64B5FB20 0F01 11E5 8BB00635E51EDD1F

See the full determination here.

The key features of the WRA are that it:
a. provides for a three year duration, operating from 2 November 2017 to 11 November 2020;
b. provides an adjustment in the rates of salary and salary related allowances of 6 per cent over the life of the WRA via three annual installments of 2 per cent;
c. applies to all ADF members of the Permanent Forces and Reserves (excluding statutory office holders);
d. applies to salary and salary related allowances;
e. does not trade off, remove or offset any conditions of service or retention initiatives to fund the arrangement or propose to do so;
f. is based solely on the performance of the ADF and has no links to productivity offsets achieved by Defence Australian Public Service in the context of bargaining; and
g. is affordable and to be funded from within Defence’s existing budget.

The DFWA made written and oral submission to the DFRT on this matter, outlining the process it undertook to engage with members and recorded that “most of the people” who sent feedback understood the current economic climate “but made valid points nonetheless to suggest the offer may be considered inadequate compared to anticipated wage growth and cost of living pressures.”

The DFWA examined forecast inflation trends for the next three years to explain their “concern for more junior members of the ADF whose dollar increase is smaller because of their lower wage” but who “are subject to the same cost increases as higher ranking members”.

In the hearing the DFWA expanded on this stating “that while those on higher pay grades will be less vulnerable to these pressures, all will find their standard of living compromised if the projected and modest CPI increases come to pass” and that “a pay increase that fails to keep pace with inflation will eventually impact on morale, retention and recruitment and will ultimately affect the ability to deliver capability.”

In summary the DFWA stated that it gives “reluctant support” to the proposed Arrangement.


Tehan Media Release - Addressing the RSL National Conference

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Dan Tehan

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today told the RSL National Conference in Canberra that improvements to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs would make it, “a 21st century Department with a 21st century service culture”.

Mr Tehan told the conference that the Government was committed to continuing to work with the RSL, as it sought to change.

“In the case of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, our aim is to have a 21st century Department with a 21st century service culture,” Mr Tehan said.

“In this year’s budget the Government made the first serious investment into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in years, with $166.6 million to upgrade its computer systems and processes.

“Claims and wait times will be cut by this investment, making DVA a 21st century Department with a 21st century service culture.

“This change at DVA will put the veteran at the centre of how the organisation operates.”

Mr Tehan also attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Australian War Memorial on Wednesday to honour the service and sacrifice of Australia’s veterans.

21 September 2017

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Tehan release - Launching $6 million research centre to support veterans with PTSD

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Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said a new Government-funded research centre into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would improve the lives of veterans and their families.

Dan Tehan

Mr Tehan today launched the $6 million Centenary of Anzac Centre at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne to be operated by Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health.

Mr Tehan said the new centre delivered a 2016 election commitment and represented one of the most significant investments into the research of military-related PTSD in Australia.

“More than 30,000 Australian veterans have an accepted service-related disability for PTSD,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs spend more than $244 million a year providing mental health support and treatment to current and former ADF members. In last year’s budget, the Government made the treatment of PTSD free for anyone who has served one day in the full-time ADF and this has led to encouraging results.
“More veterans are seeking help for their PTSD – and getting that help. The Government’s investment in the Centenary of Anzac Centre will lead to improved treatment of mental health conditions, including PTSD.

“The Anzac Centre will undertake pioneering research and provide expert advice to practitioners nationwide who are supporting veterans with PTSD.”

Director of Phoenix Australia Professor David Forbes said: “The Centenary of Anzac Centre provides a unique opportunity to establish a strong national collaboration of researchers, clinicians, ex-service organisations and all agencies caring for veterans, to work together to find new solutions and improve care.”

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17 September 2017

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.



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Steve Austin broadcast his ABC Radio 612 4QR Brisbane breakfast show from, the PTS Forum in Brisbane on 8th September 2017.  You can listen to the broadcast here
Steve is a respected and noted questioning and searching interviewer of his guests as you will hear. He has obviously researched the subject and asks searching questions that expose the facts of PTS on everyone.

He interviewed the following persons:
1. Kerri-Ann Welch (start at 22.15 minutes)

2. The White Cloud Foundation ( from 23.12 minute)

3. Dan Tehan (DVA Minister) (from 36.55 minute)

4. Tony Dell ( Principal Stand Tall) (from 53.55 minute)

5. Combat Stress (from 1 hour.01.26 minute)

6. Cameron & Melissa Smith. RAAF Veteran PTS husband and his wife relate their family experiences (from 1.07.00 minute)

7. Richard McLaren – RAAF Vietnam and after service a photographer of display Before/During/After Service (from 1.36.26 minute)

8. Stuart McCarthy & Prof Jane Quinn on neuro-toxic medications Mefloquine (from 1.45.10 minute and ends at 2.02.00)

9. AVM Tracy Smart Commander Joint Health and Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Force. (from 2.03.55) on resilience and questioned on Mefloquine,

10. Dr Justine Evans (Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation) and Dane Christison (Principal of Thrive to Survive Nation) (from 2. 14.15 to the end of the broadcast. This is a must listen to.interview that reveals Dane's (a younger PTS veteran) self funded contribution to helping others.

70th anniversary of Australian peacekeeping: Thursday, 14 September 2017

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Monday, 11 September 2017

A national commemorative service to mark the 70th Anniversary of Australian peacekeeping will be held at 10:00am on Thursday, 14 September 2017 at the new Australian Peacekeeping memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra. A dedication ceremony for the new memorial will be included in the commemorative service.

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The public event will be attended by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan, former and current peacekeepers, and their families.
Live stream coverage of the service will be available on the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Australian War Memorial websites.
Interview and photo opportunities can be arranged with peacekeepers who are attending the national service, if requests are submitted to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs by 5pm Tuesday, 12 September 2017.

The Australian peacekeeping week program includes:
11 – 16 September – Australian War Memorial Peacekeeping Photographic display
11 September – Australian Peacemaker and Peacekeeper Veterans Association National Conference
12 September – Australian Peacemaker and Peacekeeper Veterans Association National AGM
13 September – Australian War Memorial Peacekeeping Remembrance Service (7.30am)
14 September – Dedication of the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial and Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Australian Peacekeeping (10.00am)
14 September – Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project - National Peacekeeping Reception (noon)
14 September – Australian War Memorial Last Post Ceremony dedicated to a Peacekeeper (5.00pm)
16 September – Police ‘Wall to Wall - Ride for Remembrance’
15 – 16 September – United Nations Association of Australia National Conference

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Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Dan Tehan - World Suicide Prevention Day

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10 September 2017

Dan Tehan
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today used World Suicide Prevention Day to outline the mental health support available to current and former members of the Australian Defence Force and their families.

“Suicide affects all areas of our community – eight Australians a day take their own lives and it remains the greatest cause of death for men between the ages of 14 and 44,” Mr Tehan said.

“As we have seen, veterans and members of the ADF are sadly not immune. We are determined to address suicide in our community and everyone has a role to play.

“The Government has made the treatment of all mental health conditions free for anyone who has served at least one day in the full-time ADF. I encourage all veterans to contact DVA by email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 133 254 or 1800 555 254 for regional callers.

“Current and former ADF members and their family members can access free and confidential counselling and support immediately through the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1800 011 046 or by visiting the VVCS website.

“DVA also provides suicide awareness training through Operation Life. The Operation Life website helps people understand the warning signs of suicide and provides information and resources to help keep the reader and others safe from suicide,” Mr.Tehan said.

Information about Operation Life suicide awareness workshops is available on the VVCS website or by calling 1800 011 046.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Please see the following files attached:
[Tehan Media Release - World Suicide Prevention Day FINAL.pdf]
Distributed by AAP Medianet


DVA Minister - Addressing the National Servicemen’s Association

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Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today thanked the Nashos for their service as he addressed the National Servicemen’s Association National Council Meeting in Canberra.

Dan Tehan
“Australia has seen four periods of compulsory military service and the most recent schemes, in 1951–59 and 1964–72, saw tens of thousands of National Servicemen, or ‘Nashos’, serve our nation,” Mr Tehan said.
“Australia honours the service and sacrifice of those who took part in the schemes, and we remember the more than 200 men who laid down their lives for our nation.
“Nashos are an important part of our military history and Australia owes a great debt to the Australians who underwent training and served our nation.”

Mr Tehan also told the meeting the time had come for Australia’s numerous veterans’ organisations to speak with one voice through a peak national organisation.
“In other countries, veterans’ organisations have united together into a national confederation or association with the varied and differing needs of each group within the community putting forward their needs through a single body,” he said.

Mr Tehan outlined recent Government initiatives to provide more support and services to veterans and their families.
“This year’s Budget made treatment for all mental health conditions free to anyone who has served at least one day in the full-time Australian Defence Force,” Mr Tehan said.
The Government also provided $8.5 million so partners and children of our contemporary veterans, who have had at least one day of full-time service, can access the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.
“The Government has also provided a $166.6 million investment for the first stage of reforming DVA’s processes and IT infrastructure to improve how veterans experience making a claim.”

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Government launches Veterans' Employment Awards

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6 September 2017

The Australian Government continues to honour its promise to ensure that all Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are ready for the opportunities of post-service life.

Helping our former Defence personnel find meaningful post-service careers is one of the best ways we can honour their service and sacrifice.

Today we launch the inaugural Veterans’ Employment Awards, which will celebrate Australian businesses that are employing veterans as well as veterans who are making a significant contribution to their workplace.

Any Australian business, large or small, that is a leader in veterans employment should nominate for the awards.

The awards, which contain nine categories, are part of the Prime Minister’s Veterans Employment Program, that was launched last year to help recognise the talents of our veterans and to encourage the private sector to take advantage of that expertise.

An Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) on Veterans’ Employment was formed earlier this year to increase employment opportunities for veterans in the private sector. They have been instrumental in developing the Veterans’ Employment Awards.

IAC chair and Chief Executive Officer of Westpac’s Consumer Bank George Frazis today updated the Government on the committee’s progress developing strategies to improve the pathways for veterans from the Australian Defence Force into post-service employment.

Each year, around 5,200 people will leave the ADF and the Government’s aim is to ensure our personnel can transition to civilian life effectively and smoothly.

Significant work has already been undertaken to improve veteran employment in the Australian Public Service (APS) with the development of a practical toolkit to support veterans to enter the APS that includes a guide aligning ADF ranks to APS classifications.

Since the Government added a "Defence Force Experience Desirable" flag on its jobactive website in September 2016 more than 1500 positions have been advertised as Defence desirable, connecting job seekers with employers.

Mr Frazis said: "As a former RAAF Officer, I am proud to share the progress of the Committee with the Prime Minister and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs today.
"The Committee has made positive progress in achieving its aspiration to help veterans and their families gain meaningful employment during and after their service. It has established the foundation for its ongoing efforts to overcome barriers to employment for our veterans, those serving in the Reserves and their spouses.

"The Committee has found that businesses are very keen to employ veterans, and some already have specific programs in place to assist veterans. The challenge is ensuring that businesses interested in employing veterans are able to attract veterans and have programs in place that support veteran employees as they adjust to civilian workplaces.
"We encourage all organisations to recognise and take advantage of the talents and skills of our veterans, such as leadership, resilience, agility and the ability to operate in complex environments."

Nominations for the Veterans’ Employment Awards are open until 22 December 2017 and can be submitted at www.veteransemployment.gov.au


“SHETHRIVES” Program – Expressions of Interest

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Partners of Veterans Association (PVA) is looking for expressions of interest to gauge the interest, need and potential benefits of the “Shethrives” program to participants in order to support establishment of this program in an enduring and sustainable manner, ensuring as many partners have best practice support to return to and thrive in their homes, community and workplaces.

Further information can be found here

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Anzac Portal brings Australia's war history to life

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Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Mr Dan Tehan today encouraged Australians to visit The Anzac Portal website after a recent renovation. The Anzac Portal website at aims to promote awareness of Australia’s wartime history.

Dan TehanMr Tehan said the portal now contained information and educational resources spanning campaigns from the First World War to contemporary military and peacekeeping operations.
To coincide with Vietnam Veterans’ Day on Friday, 30 interviews with Vietnam veterans and family members will be published on the Anzac Portal.

The Anzac Portal is part of the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in defence of our nation,” Mr Tehan said.
“The website is a free, dedicated resource that all Australians can use to gain a better understanding of our wartime history through an extensive range of educational resources.
“The portal has been developed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for teachers and students, and is aligned with the Australian Curriculum.
“It is constantly being updated with personal interviews with veterans complemented by images from the Australia War Memorial’s collection and personal collections.”

Eight Departmental commemorative websites have been consolidated into the single Anzac Portal to provide a single, central location for information on Australian war history.

The Anzac Portal also contains resources for anyone planning events during the Anzac Centenary, including posters and wartime snapshots, veterans’ stories and publications relevant to various commemorations, music downloads and sample commemorative speeches. The portal is compatible with multiple devices and browsers.

17 August 2017

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

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