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VAC Key Outcomes – October 2019

A Veterans’ Advisory Council (VAC) meeting was held on Thursday 10 October 2019.

The VAC received a briefing from Associate Professor Harold Kudler MD from Duke University, USA, who is Adelaide’s Northern Communities Health Foundation Visiting Professor of 2019, about veteran wellbeing.  Having been trained as a psychiatrist in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dr Harold Kudler’s approach had always been clinical; make a diagnosis, apply an evidence-based treatment, monitor for improvement and/or side-effects and go on to the next patient.  As he advanced upwards in leadership he realised that a Public Health perspective is essential if we are to succeed in caring for those who have borne the battle.  This is demonstrated by the fact that, of the 20 United States Veterans who, on average, die by suicide every day, 14 are not under VA care.  They can only be engaged through a Public Health approach and this must extend beyond clinical systems to create communities of care.

Communities of care are defined as complex systems that work across individual, family, community, military, state and national levels of organisation to promote health and well-being.  An effective community of care can be measured by its public awareness of service members, its ability to recognise their needs and support them in community settings and the ease with which service members, veterans and their families can access resources and services.

Members of the veteran community are welcome to attend a presentation by Professor Kudler titled: Clinical and public health approaches to the mental health and well-being of service members, veterans and their families: an integration.

When: Wednesday 16 October 2019
Time: 5.30 – 6.30 pm
Where: Lecture Theatre G030, ground floor, Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences Building, North Terrace

This presentation will consider obstacles which so often prevent clinical and public health leaders from collaborating effectively and offer a model for their successful integration in theory and practice.

The VAC also received a briefing from Mr David Wilton, Defence and Veterans Liaison, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC).  CSC is the superannuation provider for Australia’s serving and ex-serving defence force community.  David briefed the VAC on CSC strategy and operations supporting veterans military superannuation issues at a national level and via veterans hubs.  Covering topics such as transitioning from the ADF, insurance, transitioning to retirement, and the best ways to boost retirement savings.

David will be attending the Veterans’ Information Day from 12.45pm-1.30pm on Friday 1 November 2019 at the Torrens Parade Ground to provide general financial and superannuation information for the benefit of the veteran community.

The VAC considered correspondence from Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel to Hon Steven Marshall MP, Premier of South Australia in response to the VAC’s response to the final report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans.  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 

The Commonwealth Government is currently considering the report and working with government agencies, other key organisations and the veteran community to develop a response to the 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 the Post Occupancy Review of The Jamie Larcombe Centre.

Other matters considered by the VAC included:

  • Veteran Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan
  • Veterans’ Advisory Council 2018-19 Annual Report
  • Commonwealth, State and Territory Committee – 4 October 2019
  • Veterans’ Ministerial Council – 23 August 2019
  • Torrens Hub Master Plan
  • Veterans’ Information Day – 1 November 2019

The next VAC meeting will be held on Thursday 5 December 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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