Thursday, 24 May 2018

DVA Media Release- Expanding essential services for veterans and families

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
24 May 2018

Expanding essential services for veterans and their families

VETERANS and their families will have greater access to essential services with Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester introducing the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-Centric Reforms No. 2) Bill 2018 (VCR Bill) today.
“The measures introduced today will continue to ensure veterans and their families get the services and support they need,” Mr Chester said.
“As a government we are determined to put veterans and their families first.
“Mental health continues to be a big issue in communities throughout the country and we provide free mental health care to anyone who has served for one day in the Australian Defence Force. We will be establishing a new Veteran Suicide Prevention Pilot to deliver intensive and assertive management services to veterans following an attempted suicide or to those at significant risk of suicide. 

“This pilot is about linking non-government and government support services to support vulnerable veterans’ and their families and will be offered at nine public and private hospitals in Brisbane.
“We want to encourage and support those studying with a view to getting them back into the workforce. This is why we will remove the reduction in the amount of incapacity payment which normally occurs after 45 weeks for those undertaking approved full-time study as part of their rehabilitation plan. This will mean veterans can focus on their study without having to worry about changes to their financial situation.”
The Bill will also enable the grandchildren of Vietnam veterans to be eligible to receive financial support to further their education through the Long Tan Bursary Scheme.
“We will continue to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served our country in Vietnam by extending this support to their grandchildren,” Mr Chester said.
“Families who have suffered the tragic loss of a partner and who are wholly dependent partners of veterans will have two years to decide how to receive the compensation in periodic payments or as a lump sum, which is an increase from the current six months.
“The loss of a loved one is life changing and an incredible challenging time for any family, this change will remove the pressure to make an immediate decision so that they can make the best choice for their needs.
“This legislation re-affirms the Turnbull Government’s commitment to put veterans and their families at the centre of everything that we do.”
Other measures in the Bill will include allowing claims for compensation under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) to be made orally as well as in writing. This Bill will allow for some of the measures announced in the 2018-19 Budget to be implemented.

DVA’s 1800 freecall number now accessible nationally

DVA’s general enquiries freecall telephone number, 1800 555 254, is now accessible to all callers nationwide.

For several years, the freecall number has been available to callers residing in regional Australia, allowing country callers to contact DVA without incurring call charges when dialling from a landline telephone.

As part of a project to improve access options for its clients, DVA has now also made the freecall number accessible to callers in metropolitan areas.

When calling DVA on 1800 555 254 from any landline telephone in Australia, your call will be free of charge.
If using a mobile telephone, the cost of the call will be determined by your mobile phone carrier and the terms of your mobile phone plan.

If you are residing or travelling overseas, you can now also access the DVA general enquiries line from most countries by dialling the international direct dialling prefix and +61 1800 555 254.
Call charges vary by country and you may need to query call costs with your overseas telephone service provider.

The telephone number that has traditionally been advertised for DVA general enquiries, 133 254, has not yet been withdrawn. Clients who dial 133 254 will still successfully reach DVA and will be able to speak with a client service officer.

Nationwide access to freecall 1800 telephone numbers is now also available for:

DVA’s health provider enquiry line (1800 550 457)
Transport booking line (1800 550 455)
Pharmaceutical advisory centre (1800 552 580)

DVA will soon be making further changes to its telephone numbers that will enable veterans and their families to access the services that they require more easily and quickly.

For the most up-to-date list of telephone numbers for DVA, visit the Contact page on the DVA website.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

DVA Media Release- Veterans Health Week funding applications open

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
23 May 2018

Funding applications open for Veterans’ Health Week 2018

NUTRITION will be the theme for this year’s Veterans’ Health week with funding for applications to support events highlighting the week now open for ex-service organisations (ESOs) and community groups.
Mr Chester said Veterans’ Health Week in September was a fantastic opportunity for ESOs and community groups to positively engage with veterans in their communities and promote the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.
“Nutrition plays a big part in being healthy and we know that it leads to improved wellbeing and is a part of achieving better lifestyle outcomes,” Mr Chester said.
“Funding is available to support the development and delivery of Veterans’ Health Week events and can include great initiatives like information sessions with dieticians and nutritionists, supermarket and grocery tours or learning more about food labels.”
Mr Chester said organisations that provide ongoing support, engagement and information to the veteran and ex-service community are vital to the success of Veterans’ Health Week.
“Any ESO or community group with a link to the broader veteran community is eligible to apply and encouraged to partner with other organisations that promote healthy, active and engaged lifestyles,” Mr Chester said.
“Think outside the square and get creative, activities like cooking and sharing a meal are also a great way to learn new skills, meet people, share recipes and try fresh and healthy food options.”
This year, Veterans’ Health Week runs from Saturday 22 September to Sunday 30 September 2018. Applications for funding close on 29 June 2018.
The Veterans’ Health Week funding application form, resource guide and other documentation to assist event organisers are now available on the DVA website: dva.gov.au/veterans-health-week

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Trojan's Trek - Open for Applications

Trojan’s Trek is a program which was first run in the North Flinders Ranges of SA in the late 1990s to assist troubled Vietnam veterans return to a normal life.

The objectives of the trek are to develop in the participants through joint and individual challenge:
•    an understanding of how thoughts and feelings influence behaviour
•    exposure to various strategies which will bring about positive change
•    suggested individual responses which are effective in achieving the aim, and
•    enhance self esteem

Trojan’s trek is a circuit breaker program in nature. Participants figuratively undertake a journey, which facilitates new ways of viewing themselves, their colleagues and partners in a remote location while investigating ways to facilitate change. Some of the past trekkers have denoted this as a ‘stocktake of life, feelings and behaviour.’

During the trek, individuals will be acquainted with a number of options needed to adjust thinking, make better choices, adapt behaviors and practice new skills which will be applied in his or her domestic situation. Participants are compelled to step outside their comfort zone and take stock of their lives both individually and collectively. The program is live-in, is highly individually focused and delivered by staff that have the necessary accreditation.

Applications are open now for the August Men's and Women's Treks in QLD, and the September Men's Trek in the Flinders Ranges.

Open to serving and ex serving ADF members, Police, Fire, Ambulance and other First Responders.

For more information and contact details, please go to the website

Monday, 21 May 2018

DVA Media Release- Submissions to Compensation & Rehabilitation Inquiry

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
21 May 2018

Submissions sought to inquiry into compensation and rehabilitation for veterans

SUBMISSIONS for the Productivity Commission inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans are being encouraged by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester.
Mr Chester said this is an important opportunity for veterans, the ex-service community and the broader Australian public to contribute to this independent inquiry and have their say on how services and programmes are delivered in the future.
“The inquiry is looking at not only the current system of compensation and rehabilitation for veterans but also how to ensure the system is fit for purpose in the future,” Mr Chester said.
“This is an integral part of the Government’s commitment to putting veterans and their families first by ensuring that the system that supports our veterans is the best it can be.
“I know this is an issue which many veterans, families and people within the broader ex-service community are passionate about, so I encourage them to read the issues paper and make a submission.”
The Productivity Commission has asked for initial written submissions to be lodged by 2 July 2018 with further opportunities for the public to provide feedback on the draft report following its anticipated release in December 2018. The Commission is due to report back to Government in mid-2019.
The Productivity Commission is the Government's independent research and advisory body on a range of issues affecting the welfare of Australians.
To review the terms of reference, read the issues paper or lodge a submission, visit the Productivity Commission website.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Veteran Payment - Information for Advocates

From 01 May 2018, the new Veteran Payment will provide interim financial support to eligible veterans who have lodged a claim for a mental health condition under MRCA or DRCA.

This initiative is a step forward in assisting transition and some of the issues faced by contemporary veterans and their families.

Information on the Veteran Payment can be downloaded/printed here.

The following factsheets also explain the services that might be available if eligible for the Family Support Package under MRCA.

MRC52 - Family Support Package for Veterans and their Families
MRC53 - Family Support Package for Widow(er)s

Friday, 11 May 2018

Statement of Principles Update

At the meeting of 11 April 2018 the RMA:

Determined Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:

tension-type headache37/201838/2018
herpes simplex39/201840/2018
electrical injury41/201842/2018
Cushing syndrome43/201844/2018
These SOPs revoke the SOPs previously determined for these conditions.

Determined New Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:

central serous chorioretinopathy45/201846/2018
temporomandibular disorder47/201848/2018
mesenteric panniculitis49/201850/2018

Determined Amendment Statement of Principles (SOP) for:

malignant neoplasm of the pancreas51/2018 
The Authority also issued Instrument No. 52 of 2018 (PDF)  Veterans' Entitlements (Repeal of Expired Amendment Statements of Principles) Determination 2018, which repealed a number of redundant Amendment SOPs which had not been automatically repealed in past years as the Authority intended.
The above SOPs take effect from 28 May 2018.

Summary of Changes

  • Summary of Changes PDF 

Decided to Undertake Consultation regarding:

ConditionReasons for DecisionDate for final decision
bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumoniaIntention to remove one or more factors8 August 2018

Finalised Declaration for:

ConditionDeclarationReasons for Decision
malignant neoplasm of the pancreasPDF PDF 
The Authority declares that it does not propose to amend Statement of Principles No. 74 of 2013, by inclusion of a factor relating to exposure to DDT. The Authority proposes to amend Statement of Principles No. 73 of 2013, concerning malignant neoplasm of the pancreas, by rewording factor 6(e) concerning exposure to DDT

Completed Investigations

The above determinations and declarations conclude the previously advertised investigations into:
The above declaration and investigation notices appear in the Government Notices Gazette of 8 May 2018.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

VVCS Webinar: Transitioning from the Military - A Stepped Approach

Transitioning from the Military - A Stepped Approach

Community Webinar | 30 May 2018 | 1200-1300 AEST

The next VVCS community webinar is on Transitioning from the Military – A Stepped Approach.
They’ll discuss expectations and attitudes around leaving active service, while addressing hardships that can be involved in making the change.

For some ADF personnel, the transition to civilian life can be difficult. Military culture provides strong structures, beliefs and a sense of identity which often influences many aspects of our lives, while civilian life may not offer these things in the same way, at least in a way that is obvious upon transition.

While many ADF members experience uncertainty when leaving the military, most make the transition successfully. Those leaving the military with service-related illnesses, injury, chronic pain or psychological concerns may experience more challenge during transition.

This community webinar will explore the expectations and attitudes around leaving active service while addressing hardships that can be involved in the process.

To register, visit: http://bit.ly/VVCS_TransitioningWebinar

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Reintegration and Mental Health Survey

The Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation are seeking former ADF personnel to complete an online survey about reintegration and mental health.

Their latest study investigates transition out of military service. The purpose of the study is to trial a questionnaire that will help assess reintegration and psychological adjustment to civilian life.

They are seeking former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to complete an online survey about reintegration and mental health. The survey will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
To be eligible for participation, you are required to have served in the regular ADF and to have discharged between 2000-2018. They are also unable to recruit those who are currently hospitalised for a psychological condition at this time. There will be no cost or reimbursement associated with participation.

If you would like more information, or you are interested in participating, please click on the link below or contact Principal Investigator, Dr Madeline Romaniuk on romaniukm@ramsayhealth.com.au or (07) 3394 7657