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VAC Key Outcomes – December 2019

A Veterans’ Advisory Council (VAC) meeting was held on Thursday 5 December 2019.

The VAC received a briefing from Mrs Chris Goodfellow, President, Partners of Veterans Association of Australia (SA Branch) (PVA) and Mrs Jan Milham, President, War Widows Guild of Australia (SA) (WWG). Chris spoke about the role of the PVA in offering support and assistance for the welfare, health and particular needs of partners of all current or former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members. The presentation included background to the formation of the organisation and the rewards and challenges of providing leadership and advocacy to partners and dependants as a not for profit, voluntary organisation.

Jan spoke about the formation of the WWG, its role advocating for and providing a range of services to war widows and the privacy issues that can be a barrier to being able to reach out to widows. Members of the VAC were encouraged to spread awareness and information about the role of the PVA and the WWG within the veteran community.

The VAC also received a briefing from LTCOL John Holloway, Commanding Officer, 1st Armoured Regiment, about the experience of being posted to South Australia. John spoke about the main challenges facing the ADF personnel and their families when relocating to Adelaide which included the availability of suitable housing and associated issues around housing location, requirements for ‘in person’ inspections and recognition of the ‘Defence Clause’ in rental agreements. John also highlighted issues around spouse employment, leading to an increased number of personnel with dependants relocating unaccompanied and the associated consequences.  John also spoke about the limited community awareness of the increased defence presence in Adelaide.

John advised the VAC that LTCOL Adam Gower, Commanding Officer, 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment will replace him as a member of the VAC in 2020.

The VAC received an update from Mr Geoff Tattersall, Presiding Member, Veterans’ Health Advisory Council on the proposed veterans’ wellbeing centre to be established at the former Repatriation General Hospital site.

The VAC considered correspondence to the Minister for Defence in relation to Operation Darwin Assist and Operation Navy Help Darwin in support of a National Medal and a letter to DVA on behalf of the City of Adelaide in support of funding to erect educational signage on the original site of the Australasian Soldiers Dardanelles Cenotaph.

The Executive Officer advised that the Premier had attended via video conference an extraordinary meeting of the Veterans’ Ministerial Council on Friday, 29 November 2019, at which the Commonwealth presented the Draft Veteran Mental Health Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan 2020-2023.

Other matters considered by the VAC included:

  • Productivity Commission update
  • Veterans’ Information Day held on 1 November 2019 – feedback
  • Federal Election Commitment – Employment Support
  • Torrens Hub Master Plan
  • Veterans’ Advisory Council composition 2020
  • Overwatch Australia Briefing – 22 November 2019
  • Working Age Veterans’ Forum – proposed early 2020

The next VAC meeting will be held on Thursday 13 February 2020.  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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