Thursday, 17th December 2020

The South Australian Veterans Advisory Council (VAC) met for its 73rd meeting on 10 December. It was also the last meeting for 2020.

The VAC received a briefing from VAC member and Aboriginal Veterans – South Australia (AVSA) co-chair, Mr Frank Lampard OAM. The VAC noted the need for collaborative approaches to recognise the service of Indigenous veterans both within the veteran and wider community and that there is a role for the VAC and ex-service organisations to actively promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

As an action from the October meeting, an update was provided by the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) Grants Program VAC working group. The VAC noted the recent forum held by advocates to discuss potential collaboration across ex-service organisations within South Australia, address ongoing concerns about Commonwealth funding and identify evidence-based recommendations for improvement to the future funding model. The VAC working group will reconvene in early 2021.

A paper regarding consistent and appropriate acknowledgement of the service of veterans from conflicts, primarily in the Middle East Area of Operations, and peacekeeping operations since 1989 was considered. The VAC acknowledged inherent challenges around the definitions of significant contemporary service and/or operations and agreed to further consult on this issue with the veteran community both in South Australia and nationally.

The VAC also discussed the impact of the recent IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry Report and the supports available to affected or concerned members of the South Australian veterans and their families.

The VAC discussed the cessation of the Defence Industry Veteran Employment pilot program and noted the work to be undertaken in early 2021 to further explore how veterans and their families in South Australia can be supported to find meaningful employment.

The Chair thanked all VAC members for their ongoing commitment and advocacy for issues of importance to the veteran community in South Australia, the secretariat at Veterans SA for their support to the VAC and requested contributions from members to the 2021 forward agenda.

To contact the VAC directly regarding South Australian based veteran issues please email or via post: Veterans SA, Level 4, 151 Pirie Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000.