March 2018

Welcome to the March issue of DVA e-news, featuring updates on the Prime Minister's Veterans' Employment Awards, and DVA's suite of online resources and mobile apps. Also in this issue:
bullet Passage of the Veteran-Centric Reforms No.1 Bill
bullet Veterans celebrating their 100th birthdays in 2018
bullet Introducing the new Minister for Veterans' Affairs
bullet The Veterans' MATES pharmaceutical resource

PM's Veterans' Employment Awards finalists announced

Boeing Defence Australia’s first female chief engineer, a project management consultant from Turner & Townsend and Westpac’s Autism Program Manager will vie for the inaugural Veteran Employee of the Year award at next week’s 2018 Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards.
Kathryn Burr (Boeing Defence Australia), Stuart Munro (Turner & Townsend) and Rachel Ranton (Westpac Group) are the three finalists in the category.
The 12 finalists across the five employer-focused categories are:

bullet Leadership in Recruitment of Veterans - NSW Government – Veterans Employment Program, J.P. Morgan Australia Limited and Raytheon Australia
bullet Veterans’ Employer of the Year – Large Business - Calytrix Technologies, Secure Windows and Logistic Solutions Australasia
bullet Veterans’ Employer of the Year – Small to Medium-Sized Business - Boeing Defence Australia, Cubic Defence Australia and tech2
bullet Excellence in Supporting Veterans’ Employment - Ironside Recruitment, WithYouWithMe and Agri Labour Australia – Agri Veterans

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs the Hon Darren Chester MP congratulated all the finalists and noted that the judges had a tough time with selections given the high standard of nominations.
‘The calibre of entries is an indication of the efforts Australian employers have undertaken in recent years to create employment opportunities for veterans and to support their transition to the civilian workforce,’ Mr Chester said.
‘These employers recognise that veterans are hard-working, committed, strategic, disciplined and adaptable staff.’
The Minister acknowledged the extensive talents and expertise of the three finalists in the employee category.
‘Kathryn Burr, Stuart Munro and Rachel Ranton are fine role models for other ex-service men and women looking to further their careers beyond the ADF,’ he said.
DVA will publish a special edition of DVA e-news after the winners are announced on the night of 28 March. Follow the awards hashtag, #PMVeteransAwards, on social media for updates during the evening.
For more information on the awards and the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program, visit

New Veterans' Affairs Minister sworn in

The Hon Darren Chester MP was sworn in as the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC on 5 March 2018.
Born and educated in Sale, Mr. Chester lives in Lakes Entrance with his wife Julie and their four children, and is the Federal Member for Gippsland.

He was first elected to Federal Parliament on June 26, 2008. He served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence under the Abbott Government and Assistant Minister for Defence under the Turnbull Government. In February 2016, he was appointed to Cabinet as the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. He served three months on the backbench from December 2017 to February 2018.
Since being appointed Minister for Veteran’ Affairs, Mr. Chester has been meeting and consulting with veterans and veterans’ groups including the Ex-service Organisation Round Table (ESORT).
Prior to entering Federal Parliament, he worked as a newspaper and television journalist. He is a keen sportsman who enjoys boating, camping and running marathons. He also assists as a volunteer with his children’s junior sporting interests, including the Lakes Entrance Surf Lifesaving Club and Lakes Entrance Football Netball Club.

High rates of satisfaction with pharmaceutical resource 

Large numbers of veterans and healthcare providers have described the ‘Veterans' medicines advice and therapeutics education services’ (Veterans’ MATES) program as useful.

77% of veterans, 94% of pharmacies and accredited pharmacists, and 80% of doctors who use the resource said they found the Department of Veterans’ Affairs initiative helpful.
Veterans’ MATES provides written advice to general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists about potential medication problems with their veteran patients and encourages investigation, review and changes in treatment for those veterans.
Other educational material is sent to participating medical practitioners who are the veteran’s primary provider, as well as community pharmacists, accredited pharmacists and Residential Aged Care Facilities.
The focus is on increasing the use of under-used medicines, reducing adverse drug events, reducing use of unnecessary medicines and improving the use of health services.
The program has proven useful to health providers and achieved significant improvements in outcomes for veteran patients.
For more information about the program, health professionals can contact the Veterans’ MATES Health Professional Helpline on 1800 500 869.

Mental health support on your mobile phone - anytime, anywhere.

In its Mobile Consumer Survey 2017, Deloitte found that 88% of Australians own a mobile device and that more and more people are using their handheld devices while browsing for information, news, entertainment and advice.

With this in mind, DVA has a number of online mental resources and apps to assist our clients. These include dedicated websites for the Veterans and Veterans’ Counselling Service (VVCS), DVA’s mental health portal ‘At Ease’ and ‘High Res’ which contains online tools and resources to help build resilience.

In addition, there are a series of apps such as ‘Operation Life’ designed to help those at risk deal with suicidal thoughts, and ‘The Right Mix’ to help manage alcohol consumption. DVA also actively uses social media channels such as Facebook and YouTube to publicise mental health programs and services. These tools are free to access and are available 24/7 anywhere there is access to the internet.

These resources are in line with DVA’s Veteran Centric Reform agenda and our commitment to making our programs and services more easily accessible to veterans, their families and carers, medical practitioners and health providers.


100 not out!

2018 is the 100th anniversary of the final year of the First World War and a number of veterans are celebrating their 100th birthdays this year as well.

One such veteran is Harold Murray of NSW who was born on 8 March, 1918. He went on to become a Sergeant in the 27 Field Company of the Royal Australian Engineers, and served in New Guinea during the Second World War. Harold’s advice for a long life is to enjoy good food and take life one day at a time.

Another 'birthday boy' is Robert Anderson from Tweed Heads. He was a Lance Corporal in the Australian Special Wireless Group and says that the best part of serving in the ADF was meeting his late wife, then a signalwoman in the Australian Women’s Army Service.

Joyce James was born in Wollongong on 15 March, 1918 – where she worked as a school teacher and educational psychologist. In 1945 she travelled to England to marry Francis James – a RAAF pilot who had been shot down on Anzac Day 1942, but repatriated to England in an exchange of prisoners. Enroute, Joyce saw one of the ships in her convoy torpedoed by a U-boat, but made it safely to England where she married Francis on Anzac Day, 1945.

Happy 100th birthday all and thank you for your service!
Follow us on Facebook to find more stories of 2018 centenarians.

Passage of VCR Bill provides additional support for veterans and their families

Veterans and their families will receive additional support services with the passage of the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-Centric Reforms No. 1) Bill 2018 (VCR Bill) through Parliament.

Greater family support, increased access to childcare, homecare and counselling are all part of the services provided through this legislation which highlights the importance of families to veterans’ health and wellbeing.

A new Veteran Payment will provide veterans who are unable to work with financial support while they wait for liability for their mental health condition to be determined.

Partners of veterans may also be eligible for the Veteran Payment and veterans with dependent children may be entitled to the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A without being subject to the Family Tax Benefit means test while they receive the Veteran Payment.

From 1 May 2018 a new pilot program, the Coordinated Veteran Care mental health pilot, will provide support to veterans in rural and regional areas with chronic mental health at the mild to chronic status combined with co-morbid health conditions.

Veterans who have suffered a catastrophic injury will be looked after with a new mechanism to provide household and attendant care services based on the individual needs of the veteran.

Other measures in the Bill include an entitlement to a Gold Card for Australian Defence Force members who served in Japan after the cessation of hostilities at the end of World War II and before the British Commonwealth Occupation Force commenced, and automating Qualifying Service determinations which will remove the requirement for veterans to make an application for the determination.

Did you know?
Hancocks Jewellers of London has manufactured every single Victoria Cross since the medal’s inception in 1857, and also make the Victoria Cross for Australia. The medal itself is cast, not struck like a coin or pressed using a die, and is hand-finished by the jewellers, who use bronze from cannons captured during the Crimean War to make the medals. 
The German ‘Schwerer Gustav’ (Heavy Gustav) rail gun of the Second World War was the heaviest moving artillery piece ever built. It weighed 1,350 tons, needed a crew of 250, was over 45m long, fired 7.5 ton shells and required a specially built track and 25 carriage train to move it.  
Australia’s 19th Prime Minister, Sir John Gorton, served as a fighter pilot in the RAF during the Second World War. On 21 January 1942, he was shot down over Singapore by a Japanese fighter. He was thrown heavily into his Hurricane’s instrument panel as he crash-landed, suffering severe facial injuries – the scars of which remained visible for the rest of his life.  
Australian singer Little Pattie performed for Australian troops in Vietnam with Col Joye and the Joye Boys in 1966. Her song "He's My Blonde-Headed, Stompie Wompie, Real Gone Surfer Boy" was a popular hit of the Vietnam War era.  
‘Enola Gay’, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber used to dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, was named after pilot Col. Paul Tibbets’ mother – Enola Gay Tibbets. The Enola Gay was returned to the US in 1946 and prepared for preservation. It is now on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum’s centre in Chantilly, Virginia.


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