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December VAC Key Outcomes

Friday 8 December, 2017

A Veterans’ Advisory Council (VAC) meeting was held on Thursday, 7 December, 2017 at TPI House, Richmond.

The guest speaker at the meeting was Mr John Howarth, South Australian Regional Director, Defence Housing Australia (DHA). John spoke about the range of housing options DHA provides for Australian Defence Force personnel based in Adelaide.  Housing options range from two bedroom apartments for single members to larger family homes.  DHA also offers private investment opportunities under a sale and leaseback arrangement.

DHA is an independent entity, half owned by the Department of Defence and half owned by The Treasury.

The Executive Officer briefed the VAC about the outcomes of the Veterans Ministers’ Round Table (VMRT) meeting that was held in Canberra on 8 November, 2017. The theme of the VMRT was: What makes a successful transition from the ADF to civilian life?

The matters discussed at the VMRT included improved transition, mental health and suicide prevention, improving employment outcomes for veterans, veteran accommodation and assisting incarcerated veterans.

Outcomes from the VMRT included:

  • 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.

A report was presented by VAC member Paula Dabovich on the activities of the Veterans’ Health Advisory Council including the implementation of the Framework for Veterans’ Health Care, the appointment of Darren Renshaw as the Veterans’ Health Advocate, the positive response to the opening of the Jamie Larcombe Centre and the proposed establishment of a Soldier Recovery Centre in Adelaide.

Other matters considered at the meeting included:

  • The State Government’s Veterans’ Employment Framework
  • South Australia’s Mental Health Strategic Plan
  • War Widows Guild of Australia Proposed Restructure
  • South Australia’s Ex-Service Commemorative Calendar 2018
  • South Australia in the Great War – Book
  • The Jamie Larcombe Centre Partnerships Hub
  • National Recognition of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander War Memorial
  • Activities of the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Veterans’ Mental Health
  • Relocation of the Australasian Soldiers Dardanelles Cenotaph

For more information about any of the matters discussed by the VAC or to suggest an agenda item for the next meeting on 8 February, 2018, please call Paul Sykes on 8226 8552 or email:


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