Dear ESORT members,
As I outlined in our teleconference last Friday, I will continue to update you at our weekly Friday COVID-19 teleconferences. You should also now have back in your diaries, our fortnightly teleconferences where we can discuss broader issues impacting on the veteran community.
Maintaining continuity of services to the veteran community is a priority, together with ensuring the health and wellbeing of our staff and we want to make it as easy as possible for veterans to find the latest COVID-19 news, health advice and economic support available.
A special edition of e-news will shortly be distributed to the veteran community with articles and links to important information regarding COVID-19 and available support and services. The DVA website www.dva.gov.au is also being updated regularly as new information comes to hand.
Government shopfronts are classified as essential services and, for the time being, DVA’s VAN offices remain open to members of the veteran community. However, we strongly suggest that members of the veteran community should consider their need to visit a VAN office in person. If the query can be managed over the phone, email or internet please call DVA on 1800 555 254 or lodge a query via the website. This is also relevant to your advocates who are encouraged to continue services to veterans and families. Just a reminder that appropriate social distancing arrangements need to be in place and using telephone or on-line may be best at this time.
Our staff are following strict social distancing and personal hygiene practices to protect your health, and theirs. To protect staff and the community, we ask that you do not enter a VAN office if:
- You have returned from overseas within the last two weeks,
- You have had close contact with someone suffering from the COVID-19 coronavirus, or
- You are feeling unwell.
Going forward, meetings with National Consultation Forum will be conducted in a virtual environment. A number of you mentioned a range of platforms utilised by your organisations for your meetings and Charles McHardie will come back to you with further information on how we can remain connected in this way.
We are experiencing a growth in counselling requirements with Open Arms. We are measuring the increases so we can regularly message the ESO community. Counselling services across Australia are working together to ensure that where surges are experienced, resources are shared to provide support where necessary.
Given the challenges we are all facing at this time, I asked you at the meeting last Friday to provide me with any ideas you may have that the Government may wish to consider on how your ex service organisations could be helped more, should I be asked that question in the future. Any thoughts you may have can be emailed to the ESORT Secretariat mail box.
We also undertook to provide you an update on plans to commemorate Anzac Day 2020. You may have seen the announcement that the AWM has now closed to the public in response to the latest health advice. (insert hyperlink) https://www.awm.gov.au/media/press-releases/memorialclosure.
I can assure you the Anzac Day National Service at the Australian War Memorial, without public attendance, will proceed and I will update you further on planning as soon as possible this week.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. I would appreciate it if you could please remind your members to keep themselves informed through the DVA website and I will continue to provide you with information at our weekly Friday teleconferences.
|Liz Cosson AM CSC
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
T: 02 6289 6735 Ext: 616735
E: Liz.Cosson@dva.gov.au | E: Secretary@dva.gov.au
For what they have done, this we will do.
Assistant Secretary, 6 RAR Assn
0427 632 402
6 RAR REUNION 2020
5 – 7 June 2020, Brisbane QLD. 3 days to catch up with old friends.
All eras of the Battalion INVITED.
5 June – Meet and Greet
6 June – Gala Dinner
7 June – Memorial Service, 6 RAR Association AGM, Spit Roast Lunch.
Contact: Allan Whelan, PH: 0427632402. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vietnam Veterans’ Bravery Recognised on Eve of 50th Anniversary – Coral-Balmoral Battle
It’s taken almost half a century but Australian forces who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War are finally to be recognised for their bravery.
Soldiers who resisted attack at the Battle of Coral-Balmoral, which claimed 26 Australian lives, learnt on Thursday they were to be honoured with a Unit Citation for Bravery. The recommendation comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of the battle on the weekend of May 12-13.
The Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal posted the decision on its website on Thursday morning, stating that members had arrived at the recommendations unanimously.
It said: ‘Throughout the submissions the theme of teamwork and collective gallantry is readily apparent and consistently referenced.
The message to the Tribunal from all of the veterans of the battles was that, regardless of corps and parent unit, they had fought as a coordinated group and that everybody who was there deserve recognition.’
Read the DHAAT Report and its five recommendations:
Read the Sydney Morning Herald’s article :www.smh.com.au/national/vietnam-veterans-bravery-recognised-on-eve-of-50th-anniversary-20180502-p4zcym.html
NEVER ALONE - NEVER FORGOTTEN
SO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT NEED HELP
Do you or a member of your family need to speak to someone who understands problems experienced by serving personnel?
Serving members, veterans and their families are eligible for confidential help from the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) Call 1800 011-046 or visit: www.vvcs.gov.au
Don’t forget your Battalion/Area Medical Officer and Padre.
Have you left the Army and miss being with your mates and others like yourself?
Join the RAR Family through your Battalion Association:
Are you considering lodging a claim with DVA or are having problems with an existing claim or payment?
Contact your local RSL Sub-Branch.
DVA provides a range of support services to eligible veterans in addition to pensions and compensation. Your local RSL Sub-Branch can advise you on what may be available. But if you want to check out what is available yourself, go to www.dva.gov.au
Have you been wounded or injured and are having problems?
For help with rehabilitation and general support services contact any of these support agencies
YOUNG DIGGERS at www.youngdiggers.com.au
SOLDIER ON at 04 7858 9132 or visit www.soldieron.org.au
MATES4MATES at 1300 462837or visit www.mates4mates.org
Are you or a member of your family experiencing anxiety or depression?
Contact BEYOND BLUE at 1300 22 4636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au.
Are you in crisis now?
Contact 000 – EMERGENCY (112 on a mobile phone) or LIFELINE at 131114 or visit www.lifeline.org.au
“ KEEPING THE SPIRIT ALIVE”
ADSO – A REMINDER OF WHO WE ARE
ADSO is an Alliance of major Defence Service Organisations whose members include current and past serving ADF persons.
It was formed to protect and represent the Defence Family’s (past and current serving ADFmembers and their immediate families) interests by active engagement with the Parliament.
The Defence Family’s community of interest size is about 3 million people. Its objective is to protect the Defence Family’s interests and right the wrongs imposed on it by successive Australian governments.
It is issues based and for the Fair Go Campaign has focused on four major issues:
military superannuation indexation,
DVA disability pensions,
the military compensation system (objective achieved with the previous Labor government’s review and its overwhelming acceptance of the findings) and
ADF members and veterans’ health issues with a number of initiatives taken by the previous Labor government and ongoing work in this area.