ADF PAY - Military advocates draw battlelines ahead of negotiations

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The Coalition government could be heading for another bruising clash with Australia's military families over working conditions in the ADF with military advocates warning they will not accept cuts to entitlements in the new workplace deal.

The current "wage determination" for the nation's 57,000 men and women in uniform expires in November and with early stages of talks set to begin next week, the key defence families lobby group is warning its members will reject any further erosion of "conditions of service."

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The Defence Force Welfare Association led an unprecedented backlash by tens of thousands of Defence families in late 2014 and early 2015 that forced the then-Abbott government into an embarrassing backdown in its stance on public sector pay and conditions.

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DVA Minister's Statement - DVA services for Townsville veterans ongoing

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The Department of Veterans’ Affairs office in Townsville is not closing.

The Townsville Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) office is not closing.

The Townsville On-Base Advisory Service (OBAS) at Lavarack is not changing.

The Townsville Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) is not closing and there are no plans to merge it with the Department of Human Services.

Dan TehanMinister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said two additional staff would commence working in the VAN office in April and a further two would join the VVCS office to work with complex and at risk clients and to support the Townsville Suicide Prevention program.

The Townsville VVCS is one of the busiest and largest in Australia and provides support to serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

Improvements to processing functions have been made with four staff relocating to Brisbane where they will continue to deliver incapacity, rehabilitation, compensation and OBAS services.

“Townsville is home to a large number of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel and DVA’s Townsville operations are crucial to supporting these clients,” Mr Tehan said.
“DVA staff are also working closely with the Primary Health Network in support of the Suicide Prevention Trial the Government is undertaking in Townsville and other mental health initiatives in the North Queensland area.”
Mr Tehan also reminded the veteran community that VVCS crisis support could be accessed 24/7 on 1800 011 046.

21 March 2017

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Mefloquine drug impaired thought process in Rwanda

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download 33The Canadian army officer who led the UN peacekeeping mission during the Rwandan genocide, General Dallaire, testifies that the antimalarial drug mefloquine affected his thought processes during his deployment but the military refused to let him stop taking it.

 

Soldiers who were given mefloquine in Somalia in the early 1990s as part of a poorly administered – and possibly illegal – clinical trial run by the Department of National Defence have told the veterans affairs committee that the medication caused lasting brain damage.

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DVA Media Release - 2017 Anzac Day commemorations in Vietnam

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TehanDanMinister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today said Australians planning to visit the Long Tan Cross site in Vietnam for Anzac Day commemorations should be aware of the current situation.

"It is important to ensure that all Australians planning to travel to Vietnam, and particularly the Long Tan Cross site, are aware of the current situation so they can manage their expectations and travel arrangements in advance of Anzac Day 2017," Mr Tehan said.

In August 2016, the Vietnamese Government did not permit the planned Long Tan 50th anniversary commemoration service to take place at the Long Tan Cross site.

The Australian Government is continuing discussions with the Vietnamese Government about future commemorations in support of Australian veterans.


The Vietnamese Government had indicated previously that small groups of people may be granted access to the Long Tan Cross site for private visits, though this could change at short notice.


It remains unclear if the Vietnamese authorities will permit official commemorations and a final formal Vietnamese Government decision is yet to be taken.

The Australian Government cannot commit to holding an official commemoration at the Long Tan site on Anzac Day 2017 until the Vietnamese Government provide official advice.

The Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs have renewed their requests to their Vietnamese counterparts that Vietnam allow official commemorative services on Anzac Day and Vietnam Veterans Day at the Long Tan site.

"The Australian Government respects Vietnam’s right as a sovereign nation to determine the nature of any foreign commemorations held in its country," Mr Tehan said.
"We appreciate Vietnam’s cooperation over many years in facilitating access to the Long Tan Cross site and allowing low-key official commemorative services to occur.
"The Australian Government will continue to update veterans and the Australian public on developments."

Further information will be available at smartraveller.gov.au and the Australian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City website.

9th March 2017

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

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