Returned Australian soldiers with PTSD plead for more help, as Four Corners program reveals widespread depression and homelessness

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Hundreds, if not thousands, of Australian soldiers are struggling to access the financial help they need to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder once home, veterans and support agencies say.

ABC TV's Four Corners on Monday night featured former soldiers undergoing gruelling therapy sessions to help them recover from PTSD, which has damaged their marriages, their relationships with their children and their careers.

They said speaking openly about mental health issues would have harmed their careers and receiving entitlements from the Department of Veterans' Affairs was a long and arduous process that deepened their suffering.

The number of PTSD-related suicides among former soldiers are estimated to be three times that of Australia's combat losses in Afghanistan.

There are also 3000 veterans believed to be living on the streets. About 10 per cent of Australia's homeless population are believed to be veterans, according to Homelessness NSW and Homeground Services.

Robyn Collins, the head of RSL NSW's DefenceCare charity, said mental health and homeless services aimed at veterans were in desperate need of more government funding.

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Defence Department Invests in Mental Health

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HUNDREDS of millions of dollars will be spent upgrading ­Defence health facilities and retraining doctors to deal with the scourge of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in the military.

Amid growing evidence that mental health issues threaten all personnel, not just those who serve in Afghanistan and other conflicts, the Department of ­Defence is overhauling health services out of recognition that its duty of care extends from enlistment to discharge and beyond.

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ADSO Welcomes Governments new ADF Pay Deal

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The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) welcomes the PM's announcement that it is upping its original pay offer to 2% per annum that is slightly above the expected inflation rate over the next three years.

Speaking on behalf of the ADSO Alliance as its national spokesman, David Jamison said "the revised offer of 2.0 % per annum better reflected the value that the Government said it places on ADF personnel and the special compact the ADF has with the Australian people".

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ADF Pay - People Power Works

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Relieved families say U-turn proves people power works

Anthony Galloway & Victoria Nugent - Townsville Bulletin report  5 March 2015

A RELENTLESS campaign by local defence families has delivered some much-needed relief after the Government backed down from its below-inflation pay offer.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday announced his Government would increase the pay offer for Defence Force personnel to 2 per cent, starting next pay day. It comes after local defence families bravely spoke out against the Government's original offer of 1.5 per cent – which represented a pay cut in real terms – holding rallies from Townsville to Canberra.

Ray Martin, a former commander of the 1st Battalion who led the local campaign for a better pay deal, said it was good news for the Townsville defence community.

Townsville resident Rebeckah Costelloe, whose ­husband is in the Army, said the announcement proved people power worked.

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ADSO Appreciation

Recognition is made of Mr Tony Dagger, a concerned ADF parent, who initiated his petition that achieved over 65,000 signatures and together with Ray Martin, Caycee Lewis, Rebeckah Costelloe, Sarah Lowe and ADF spouses in Townsville started the groundswell of support that gave a public voice for the ADF. Thank you to all who participated.

Opposition Leader - Backdown on ADF Pay Welcomed

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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SENATOR THE HON STEPHEN CONROY
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

GAI BRODTMANN MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR DEFENCE

MEDIA RELEASE

BACKDOWN ON ADF PAY WELCOMED

Federal Labor has today welcomed the Prime Minister finally backing down on his decision to cut the pay of Australian Defence Force personnel.

Labor holds Australia's Defence Force personnel and their families in the highest regard, and we have consistently called for the Government to back down its ADF pay-cut from the instant it was announced.

Today's decision, however, has only been taken to shore up the Prime Minister's leadership. Indeed as recently as December last year the Prime Minister said he was "determined to stick with the 1.5 per cent pay arrangements." (Press Conference – 1 December 2014)

This is a fight that our ADF personnel should not have needed to have. Our ADF should not have to fight its own government for decent pay and conditions.

Make no mistake, the Prime Minister's disgraceful decision to cut the pay of ADF personnel should never have been made in the first place. It showed disrespect towards our servicemen and women and their families and didn't properly recognise the unique nature of military service. Our armed forces and their loved ones have enough to worry about without the additional pressure of a Government which committed to cutting their pay.

Labor, the RSL, Defence Force Welfare Organisation, and other Ex-Service Organisations have all pressured the Prime Minister over his unfair ADF pay deal.

Labor will continue to stand up for the pay and conditions of Australia's Defence Force personnel and will continue to call on the Government to ensure that the level of pay offered does not result in a real pay cut for our servicemen and women.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Media Contact: Leader's Office Media Unit 02 6277 4053
Adam Sims (Conroy) 0408 258 457
Claire Wheaton (Brodtmann) 0422 370 036

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