Wednesday, 6th March 2024

The VAC held its 89th meeting on 15 February 2024, chaired by COL Rob Manton.

Key items of discussion included:

Public Holidays Bill 2023

 An extra-ordinary meeting of the VAC was held on 4 December 2023 to discuss the Public Holidays Bill 2023. The Director advised that amendments to the Public Holidays Bill 2023, including reinstating the descriptor ‘Anzac Day’ to the 25 April public holiday entry, were being progressed through Parliament.

VAC Annual Report 2023

 VAC members were referred to the VAC Annual Report for 2023 which was provided to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in January 2024.

Residential Aged Care Workshop

 The VAC received a briefing from VAC member and CEO of RSL Care, Mr Nathan Klinge on a DVA Residential Aged Care workshop he had attended on 11 December 2023. Mr Klinge advised that a Residential Aged Care Task Force had since been formed chaired by  Veronica Hancock, First Assistant Secretary, Policy & Research, DVA.

Proposed new entity to promote wellbeing of Defence members & veterans – Royal Commission into Defence & Veteran Suicide.

 The VAC Chair and Deputy Chair attended a virtual workshop on 29 November 2023, convened on behalf of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide (RCDS) to discuss an RCDS proposed recommendation to ‘establish an oversight body, of appropriate purpose, scope and authority, to be a catalyst for continuous improvement’. The Chair submitted a response to the RCDS Consultation Paper on behalf of the VAC.

DVA Veterans’ Families Forum

 The VAC were advised that Deputy Chair, Assoc Prof Miranda Van Hooff and VAC member, Ms Hayley Boswell would be attending the DVA Veterans’ Families Forum in March. Topics would include ways to better support spouses in employment, veteran and family wellbeing, and supporting grandparents as carers.

MATES Program

The Chair led a discussion about the recent closure of the MATES program jointly run by the University of South Australia and DVA and the possible data breach that reportedly precipitated the program’s closure. It was agreed to keep a watching brief on developments.

Veterans SA Update

The VAC received an update from Veterans SA Director, Ms Chantelle Bohan, on the current priorities of the agency, including:

  • Veteran Employer Network Launch – 7 February 2024
  • Co-work Co-play first session – 20 February 2024
  • SA Veteran Community Connection Event – 29 November 2023
  • SA Veteran Employer Network Event – 6 December 2023
  • Mentoring Program Launch – 11 April 2024
  • 80th Anniversary of end of WWII grant round open for projects to be completed by 25 August 2025
  • Royal Commission final round of hearings commencing in Sydney on 4 March

Ongoing Matters

The VAC remains seized of the following matters:

  • The state government’s review of concessions for South Australians
  • The consultation process regarding veterans’ legislation
  • The proposed Northern Adelaide Wellbeing Centre and
  • The Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans’ Suicide

The next meeting of the VAC is scheduled for 18 April 2024

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