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ANZAC Day – Kenmore Moggill RSL 2020

With Honour We Serve

It was a moving experience to see friends and neighbours all come out onto their driveways this morning as we commemorate the sacrifices those who have served on this most unusual of Anzac Days.

Some of you may recognise the motto of the Queensland Police Service as the title of this article; the reason for that is because a former Inspector with 26 years service sent me a message to say “thank you for your service” and then shared with me how emotional today’s experience was in comparison to past Dawn Services. It is certainly a very difficult time that we find ourselves in and we cannot underestimate the emotional costs that isolating at home will have on people.

We all have stories to share about our own service or the service of loved ones who came before or are still wearing a uniform today. Please remember that we all serve in different ways and that’s what I love about this country! The “Care Army” helping support vulnerable Australians who can’t get out at the moment is just as important as the men and women who have fought overseas protecting the freedoms we hold so dear.

Here is one story of a young Australian who did not return from the Second World War while serving our Country.

Flying Officer Evan Charles Patten DFC is the great uncle of my friend from the Police service. He is proud to have these original documents, and they are certainly an important part of our history. The airmail letter at the bottom is a letter F/O Patten sent to his mum on the day that he went on his last mission and was shot down over Dortmund Germany. It was a letter of hope and sadness and love and is really quite incredible. 

They had flown a significant number of missions and were shot down over Dortmund Germany and crash-landed with all surviving. They tried to evade the German Forces but ended up getting captured. The SS executed the Officers and the flight crew were sent to a prisoner of war POW camp.


The true story of the fate suffered by the officers eventually came out thanks to the surviving NCO aircrew. 

All gave some, some gave their All

“Lest we Forget”

SENIOR AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER NEXT REPATRIATION COMMISSIONER

MEDIA RELEASE


March 19 2019

FOR the first time, a former Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army has been appointed as the new Repatriation Commissioner with outgoing Commissioner Major General Mark Kelly AO, DSC completing his appointment on 30 June this year.


Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today announced Mr Don Spinks AM, who recently retired from the Australian Defence Force with almost 40 years’ experience, had been appointed as the new Repatriation Commissioner and as a Member of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission for a period of five years from 1 July 2019.


“Mr Spinks is highly qualified and well-respected, has an impressive military career serving on multiple overseas deployments and has capably represented the concerns and views of soldiers to the Chief of Army and senior leadership over a lengthy period,” Mr Chester said.


“As Commissioner, Mr Spinks will be able to use his recent service experience to assist in addressing contemporary issues faced by veterans and their families, I congratulate Mr Spinks on his appointment.”


Prior to taking up his full duties on 1 July, Mr Spinks has been appointed a Commissioner on the Repatriation Commission and will receive a comprehensive handover from Major General Kelly who has served on the Commission since 2010.


Mr Chester thanked Major General Kelly for his contribution and invaluable service to the Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission since 1 July 2010.


“The work of the Commissions is pivotal in the development of effective policy and programs, and the efficient delivery of services for veterans and their families,” Mr Chester said.


“In his almost 10 years, Major General Kelly has achieved a great deal in support of veterans and their families, most recently in advancing Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling, a service that is vitally important to the ex-service community by providing early intervention and longer term mental health treatment services.


“On behalf of the ex-service community, I thank Major General Kelly and wish him all the best for the future.”


Mr Spinks served in a number of senior roles during his Army career, including 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Multi National Force and Observers – Sinai Egypt, 1st Brigade, Joint Task Force 633 on Operation Slipper and the Command Sergeant Major Forces Command – Army.


The Repatriation Commission grants pensions and benefits, and provides treatment and other services under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force, their partners, widows, widowers and children. The Commission also provides advice to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs on related issues.


Further information about the Commissions and Mr Spinks can be found on the DVA Website.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACTS: 
Rachel Tharratt: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon. Darren Chester, Canberra ACT.

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling, provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au

Advocacy News – Issue 10, December 2018

Please click here for the Advocacy News, Issue 10, December 2018. 

Should you have any enquires about ATDP or would like to provide feedback/comments on the newsletter, please send an email to [email protected].

Kind regards,

Mark McCarthy

ATDP Projects and Communications Officer

Employment and Rehabilitation Policy

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T 02 6289 6026 | ext 616026

Email: [email protected]

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CONTACT Newsletter 82

View the latest “Contact” newsletter by clicking here.  Please forward it by email to anyone you think might be interested.

Productivity Commission – Draft Report Into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans

MINISTER for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Darren Chester today welcomed the Productivity Commission draft report of its inquiry into compensation and rehabilitation for veterans.

“The report reinforces a commitment to putting the well-being of veterans and their families first, it outlines the importance of a whole-of-life focus and it acknowledges the key role of families,” Mr Chester said.

“These are all central components of the Government’s efforts to provide the high-quality support and assistance our veterans and their families want and deserve.

“I welcome the draft report and as a Government we will carefully consider the recommendations put forward and respond once the final report has been completed.”

“A number of significant recommendations have been proposed­ — none of these have been accepted or rejected at this stage.

“This report will also help to start a conversation amongst the veteran community on the future of the military compensation and rehabilitation system in Australia, and I look forward to hearing those views. I will be conducting a series of roundtables to receive direct feedback early in 2019.

“The Department of Veterans’ Affairs is already changing for the better – under our Government.” 

The Productivity Commission operates independently, and its findings and recommendations are based on its own analyses and judgments.

The coming months will give the Government and the Commission the opportunity to hear the views from the veteran community and other stakeholders before the Commission finalises its report in June 2019.

“Our Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and we will continue to work with the Productivity Commission and the wider veteran community over the coming months to address key issues,” Mr Chester said.

“I acknowledge the support that the Productivity Commission demonstrated in the draft report for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ transformation, under the Veteran Centric Reform program.

“This transformation has seen a number of new programs and initiatives established,including the very successful My Service platform, the digitisation of records project and general improvements with our processing systems. I am confident that we are on the right path with our transformation journey.”

Individuals wishing to view the report, or put forward their views, can do so at www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/veterans#draft

Increased risk of attempted suicide in Australian veterans

Increased risk of attempted suicide in Australian veterans is associated with total and permanent incapacitation, unemployment and posttraumatic stress disorder severity.

You can read the full paper on suicide amongst veterans conducted by Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation in conjunction with Toowong Private Hospital, and published this week in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry by clicking here.

Abstract

Background: Military veterans have higher rates of suicidality and completed suicides compared to the general population.  Previous research has demonstrated suicidal behaviour is higher in US combat veterans who are younger, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety and score lower on measures of health. However, research on predictors of suicide for Australian veterans is limited. The aim of this study was to identify significant demographic and psychological differences between veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder who had attempted suicide and those with posttraumatic stress disorder who had not, as well as determine predictors of suicide attempts within an Australian cohort.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on 229 ex-service personnel diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder who had attended a Military Service Trauma Recovery Day Program as outpatients at Toowong Private Hospital from 2007 to 2014. Patients completed a battery of mental health self-report questionnaires assessing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol use, anger, depression, anxiety and quality of life. Demographic information and self-reported history of suicide attempts were also recorded.

Results: Results indicated the average age was significantly lower, and the rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, anger, anxiety and depression symptoms were significantly higher in those veterans with history of a suicide attempt. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated posttraumatic stress disorder symptom severity, unemployment or total and permanent incapacity pension status significantly predicted suicide attempt history.

Conclusion: Among a cohort of Australian veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder, psychopathology severity, unemployment and total and permanent incapacity status are significantly associated with suicidality. This study highlights the importance of early identification of posttraumatic stress disorder and psychopathology, therapeutic and social engagement, and prioritisation of tangible employment options or meaningful and goal-directed activities for veterans
deemed unable to work.

 

NMHC Review into the Prevention of Self-Harm and Suicide.

Dear ESORT members,

I am writing to inform you of the recent release of the Government’s Response to the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) Review into the prevention of self-harm and suicide. The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel released the Government’s response on 30 June 2017 in Melbourne.

The response is available online at www.dva.gov.au/nmhcreview.

At the same time, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) also released its update of data on the incidence of suicide among current and former ADF members. Its report is available online at http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129559898.

I encourage you to share these reports with your members.

 

Regards,

Neil Bayles

Assistant Secretary Portfolio, Program and Assurance Office

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

News n Views August 2016

Read the latest copy of New n Views by clicking here.

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