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A Veterans’ Advisory Council (VAC) meeting was held on Thursday 13 June 2019.
Two members of the VAC received awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Mr Leon Eddy OAM and Mr Ray Kemp OAM were recognised for service to veterans and their families. Other South Australian members of the veteran community who received awards included: The Late Mr Guy Bowering OAM, Mr Norm Coleman OAM, Mrs Lynette Leahey OAM, Mr Clement McArdle OAM and Colonel Stephen Larkins OAM.
The VAC received a briefing from Mr Frank Lampard OAM about the Connecting Spirits Community Tour he attended in April 2019. Connecting Spirits is a project that involves students travelling to the World War 1 battlefields, cemeteries and memorials of France and Belgium to learn first-hand the role that Australians played in the battles of the Great War and to understand the sacrifices made. While there, the students commemorate individual soldiers from their own families and communities.
The VAC considered the final report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Inquiry into Transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The final report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for veterans is scheduled to be released by the end of this month. The VAC made submissions to both of these inquiries, which will have a significant influence on the future of transition from the Australian Defence Force and the compensation and rehabilitation arrangements for the veteran community.
The VAC provided advice to the Premier about the 39 applications received to the 2019-20 round of the Anzac Day Commemoration Fund, which closed on 3 May 2019. The results of the 2019-20 funding round will be announced in the coming weeks.
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. The VAC is keen to engage with SA Health about plans to promote the wellbeing of the veteran community and the protection and preservation of significant sites to the veteran community such as the Chapel, SPF Hall and Remembrance Gardens as planning continues to reactivate the Repat site.
VAC members also received a briefing on preparations to mark significant anniversaries of World War Two. 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:
• The Veterans Support Group for Incarcerated Veterans
• The Jamie Larcombe Centre
• Commonwealth, State and Territory Committee Agenda
• Funding for Ex-Service Organisations
• Promotion of Services Available to Veterans
The next VAC meeting will be held on Wednesday 7 August 2019. Please contact Paul Sykes at email@example.com or via telephone: (08) 8226 8552 if you would like any further information.