March 19 2019
SENIOR AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER NEXT
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
“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
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
“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
Further information about the Commissions and Mr
Spinks can be found on the
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