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VAC Key Outcomes – August 2019

A Veterans’ Advisory Council (VAC) meeting was held on Wednesday 7 August 2019.

The VAC welcomed a new member, Mrs Cheryl Cates, State President of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL-SA).  Cheryl served in the Australian Defence Force for 23 years and then worked at the RSL National Headquarters in Canberra for 10 years.  Since moving to Adelaide, Cheryl has been actively involved with RSL-SA.

The VAC considered the final report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for veterans.  The VAC has written to the Hon Steven Marshall MP, Premier of South Australia to outline its concerns about some of the recommendations made in the final report.  Premier Marshall has agreed to forward the VAC’s correspondence to the Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.  While the VAC considers that some of the 69 recommendations have merit, members are deeply concerned about the proposed changes to the Veterans Review Board, the removal of Gold Card entitlements, the establishment of a Veterans’ Services Commission and the potential embedding of veteran policy within the Department of Defence.  The final Productivity Commission report is available for viewing at: https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/veterans#report

Dr Paula Dabovich briefed the VAC about the recent activities of the Veterans Health Advisory Council, including plans for a Veteran’s Wellbeing Centre at the Repat and some background information about the National Centre for Veterans Healthcare in Concord New South Wales.  An information session about the Wellbeing Centre was held on Sunday 28 July 2019.  The VAC resolved to write to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing outlining its views of the best options for a wellbeing centre. A survey seeking the views of organisations, service providers and the veteran community on what services survey responders would like to see, or that an organisation could provide in the SPF Hall or at the Repat Health Precinct more broadly closes at 5pm Monday 12 August 2019.  You may wish to complete the survey online by visiting www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/repat.

VAC members also considered a request from the Premier for the VAC to provide advice on how best to appropriately recognise South Australia’s ageing veterans.

On 3 September 2019 we will mark the 80th Anniversary of Britain, France and Australia’s declaration of war on Germany in 1939.  The 80th Anniversary of the crucial events of World War Two, such as the Siege of Tobruk, the Battles of El Alamein and the Kokoda Track Campaign, where South Australians served with distinction, will be commemorated respectfully in the coming years.

Other matters considered by the VAC included:

  • A Defence Consultative Group Update
  • Disrespectful Behaviour – Adelaide Memorial Precinct
  • Veterans Employment Program Website
  • Commonwealth, State and Territory Committee meeting outcomes – 31 July 2019
  • Veterans’ Ministerial Council – 23 August 2019
  • Torrens Hub Master Plan
  • Veterans SA Strategic Plan
  • Headstone Project
  • Promotion of Services Available to Veterans

The next VAC meeting will be held on Thursday 10 October 2019.  Please contact Paul Sykes at paul.sykes@sa.gov.au or via telephone: (08) 8226 8552 if you would like any further information.


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