ADSO Policy Objectives 2016-2017

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ADSO believes the members of the Australian Defence Community who have served honourably on the nations behalf deserve nothing more in return than a fair go for them and their families.

ADSO is concerned that the Australian community’s appreciation of the special and unique nature of service in the ADF has been allowed to deteriorate though lack of understanding of the demands placed on the men and women of the ADF and their families. We have observed the consequential progressive move to see service conditions for Australian Defence Force members benchmarked against community standards and veterans support as welfare. Service in the ADF comes with a cost not just to the individual service member but their dependents as well. ADSO believes that governments must play a leadership role in ensuring that the community clearly appreciates that servicemen and women and their families deserve special recognition reflecting their contribution to the service of our Nation.

ADF serving and former members expect that the conditions under which they enlist and serve will be honoured. Serving ADF members expect that there will be no reduction in conditions of service, and that Government’s clear obligation to servicemen and women will be met. There is a growing understanding
within the ADF that over time, successive Governments have fallen well short of meeting their obligation to the individual members of the Australian Defence Force and their dependents.


1. DVA Culture and Processes 
2. Veterans Disability Payments 
3. Military Superannuation  (Fair Indexation for all DFRDB recipients, Fair Indexation for all other Military Superannuation payments, MSBS Access to Employer      Benefits and DFRDB Commutation) 
4. Proposed Australian Military Accord 

5. ADF Pay 
6. Defence Housing Support 
7. Care and Accommodation Needs of Homeless Veterans 
8. ADF Member Representation in Curricula Design and Application of Vocational Training 
9. Appropriate Community Accommodation 
10. Mental Health Support Programs
11. National Consistency of Education Curricula 
12. Mefloquine



Department of Veterans’ Affairs responds to questions from News Corp Australia

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April 17, 2016 12:00am
Paul Toohey News Corp Australia Network

NEWS Corp Australia has asked the Department of Veterans’ Affairs a series of questions.Here are their responses below.

1. When will DVA fully digitise its systems so that claims officers can view claims on line?

New Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) client records are created digitally and remain in digital format.

DVA is on a path to digitising many of its paper processes and records. This is a large and complex change journey that will be carried out in stages, and will take a number of years to complete. DVA’s transition to electronic-files is in line with the Australian Government Digital Continuity Plan, and aims to complete the digitisation by 2020.

DVA complies with its records management responsibilities under legislation including the Archives Act 1983, Freedom of Information Act 1982 and Privacy Act 1988.

DVA is committed to the principles and practices set out in the Australian Standard AS ISO 15489-2002: Records Management, and standards and guidelines issued by the National Archives of Australia (NAA).

Transformation of DVA’s ICT and business processes is a key priority for DVA.

2. What is DVA’s response to the Senate inquiry’s finding that some veterans were leaving psychiatric wards and “being discharged into homelessness”, which considered this a “significant dereliction of duty” by DVA and health providers?

DVA’s contracts with private hospitals include an explicit requirement that a comprehensive discharge plan be in place which includes referrals to appropriate services.

There is a duty of care on any health facility to ensure that when they discharge patients, they have made adequate arrangements to ensure their ongoing care and wellbeing. This includes referrals to the patient’s general practitioner and other health professionals as required, communication with carers and family members, and ensuring that where social and welfare supports are required, that appropriate arrangements are in place. Similar arrangements apply to public hospitals.

The Government is considering the report of the Senate Inquiry into the Mental Health of Australian Defence Force members and veterans.

3. A common complaint across the country is that DVA has been broken up into silos, as part of cost-saving, meaning different aspects of one claim are processed in different places, resulting in both DVA and vets losing track of claims (which are also slowed as files are shifted in hard copy from place to place). What is DVA doing about this?

DVA is committed to client-focused, responsive, and connected service delivery. The Government is determined to improve the time taken to process compensation claims. DVA also responds to changes in the veteran community and provides flexibility as demographics change.

In line with this, DVA has changed the way it carries out Rehabilitation and Compensation business, including claims processing, by moving to a structure that allows sites to focus on building capability in specific work activities.

These changes aim to improve performance and consistency of decision-making, service delivery, and the overall client experience.

DVA will continue to maintain a national physical presence, across all states and territories and the Government is committed to maintaining a stand-alone department for veterans.

With regard to the issue of hard copy files being transported from place to place — DVA’s Digital Transition Strategy includes initiatives to digitise client files. These initiatives intend to reduce and eventually eliminate the delay of files being transported from place-to-place. Ultimately DVA’s intention is to cease the creation of new paper files entirely and for claims to be processed digitally.

4. Our investigation shows there is deep discontent with DVA among veterans, including calls for a Royal Commission. Does DVA accept that it has a lot of work to do to regain veteran confidence?

DVA welcomes a dialogue on client concerns, and working with the ex-service community is an important objective of the Department.

To do so, the Department works closely with the National Consultation Framework, a formal consultative structure designed to facilitate effective communication between the Department and the veteran and ex-service community.

It is made up of national and state and territory forums such as the Ex-Service Organisation Round Table, the Younger Veterans — Contemporary Needs Forum and the National Aged and Community Care Forum.

The goal of the National Consultation Framework is to regularly discuss issues affecting veterans and how the Department can better meet the needs of the veteran community, both on a national and state level. This ensures that state and territory forums engage with local contemporary veteran and ex-service communities and representation includes the broad-range of views of DVA’s diverse client base.

In addition, DVA maintains a comprehensive feedback system, which allows all members of the veteran community to voice any concerns. In the 2014-15 financial year, DVA received 3,743 individual pieces of feedback through this system, the majority of which were complaints.

The three common areas of complaints covered were the accessibility and responsiveness of client service; the provision of clear and correct information; and the service and performance of contractors or providers. On average these complaints were resolved within 13 days, with around 40 per cent of complainants indicating they were satisfied with this process. Only around 2% of complainants indicated that they were dissatisfied.

Originally published as DVA responds to News Corp


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The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) in a Media Statement released today has expressed a deep concern that successive governments, including the current Turnbull one, continue to ignore irrefutable evidence that the nation’s 130,000 disabled veterans are suffering due to the ongoing erosion of the value of their compensation payments. Those most severely disabled, namely the war veterans, are particularly affected. Their living standards and that of their families are falling daily.

ADSO calls on the government to stop this erosion and treat those who have been disabled through their military service to Australia fairly and equitably. That surely is not too much to ask?

15 April 2016
“They went forth willingly to do their duty to Australia; Australia must be equally ready to
do its duty to them. It is the intention of the Government, so far as is humanly possible, to see
that the debt is paid in full”. Prime Minister Billy Hughes, 1917.

In a damning display of political arrogance the Coalition Government has lost the respect and the support of the nation’s 130,000 disabled veterans by continuing to
ignore their concern at the erosion of the value of their compensation payments,especially those affecting our most severely disabled war veterans.
Those disabled veterans who cannot work or are restricted need to have their compensation payment benchmarked to an acceptable level that will maintain a
satisfactory standard of living for them and their family. Is that too much to ask?

Why is PM Turnbull failing to live up to the enduring pledge of PM Hughes so long ago? Hughes fully understood the life changing effects on our uniformed men and women damaged by war. The Turnbull Government does not!

Why Is the Government ignoring those who have been disabled through their military service to Australia?
The Coalition Government is telling us that the nation cannot afford fair and equitable military compensation payments for our disabled veterans. Really Prime Minister?

The Government must stop the erosion of our disabled veterans’ living standards and self-dignity. They deserve nothing less.

Our veterans did the right thing by their Nation. Many paid a huge price with broken minds and bodies.

It’s time for the Nation to step up and do the right thing for our disabled veterans.

ADSO Campaign Co Directors: Ted Chitham 0418 733 887 and Alf Jaugietis 0438 282 284
ADSO National Spokesman: David Jamison 0416 107 557

Media Statement - ADSO Calls on the Government to Fully Support it's Veterans

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ADSO 23Sep15

Media Statement - 2 March 2016

Military service to the nation is a bond that unites all generations of veterans. The unique demands placed on ADF members and their families in too many cases results in significant physical and mental health problems and family stresses. It is for this reason Governments have legislated for specific provisions to support our service personnel and their families.

In the words of a former Prime Minister Billy Hughes "They went forth willingly to do their duty to Australia; Australia must be equally ready to do its duty to them".


We believe successive governments have fallen well short of meeting this enduring obligation. The Veteran Entitlement, Services Rehabilitation and Compensation, Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Acts are meant to be applied in a beneficial way to serving and former ADF members but we find in too many instances that this is not happening, particularly in the case of veterans from more recent conflicts.

ADSO strongly urges the Government:

• Insist its officials apply the provisions of these compensation arrangements beneficially;

• Ensure adequate staff resources are available to enable DVA to process veterans' claims expeditiously; and

• Provide the staff and resources needed to update the department's IT systems and to design system improvements to provide a more responsive service to veterans reducing the extended times taken at present.

Veterans have willingly served and made sacrifices for Australia. ADSO asks for nothing more in return than a fair go for them and their families.

ADSO Campaign Co Directors
Ted Chitham 0418733887 and Alf Jaugietis 0438282284 

ADSO National Spokesman - David Jamison 0416107557

ADSO comprises:
The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), Naval Association of Australia (NAA), RAAF Association (RAAFA), Royal Australian Regiment Corporation (RARC), Australian Special Air Service Association (ASASA), Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA), the Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Service Men and Women, the Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia, Partners of Veterans Association of Australia, Royal Australian Armoured Corps Corporation (RAAC), the National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia (NMBVAA), the Defence Reserves Association (DRS), the Australian Gulf War Veterans Association, Military Police Association Australia (MPAA), the Australian Army Apprentices Association, and the Australian Commando Association.

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