Tehan Media Release - NO CHANGE

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Dan Tehan

No change

The Australian Government is committed to a stand-alone Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). This has been an election commitment by the Coalition over successive elections and remains Government policy.

There are no plans to merge DVA with the Department of Human Services (DHS). There is no meeting planned for this week and there is no agreement to be signed in the near future to subsume DVA into DHS.
DHS manages DVA’s ICT infrastructure under a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2011. Prior to this agreement DVA’s ICT infrastructure was outsourced to IBM.
There has been no change to DVA’s recruitment policy. DVA continues to recruit in-line with Australian Public Service policy, with a priority on hiring staff who are passionate about supporting veterans.

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
17 August 2017

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.

Tehan Media Release - Korean War Veterans Remembered

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Today, the nation remembers those Australians who served in the Korean War, on the 64th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice agreement.

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The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, said that of the more than 17,000 whoserved, 340 Australians lost their lives and more than 1,200 were wounded.

21 Nations provided military personnel, medical support or other assets to the United Nations effort in Korea, despite most still recovering from the impact of the Second World War.

“Australian soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses made an important contribution to this international endeavour, serving both during the conflict and in the post-armistice period which continued until 1957,” Mr Tehan said.
“In Korea Australian service personnel earned international respect for their courage and endurance in battle. Today we pause to remember the service and sacrifice of our veterans and the debt of gratitude owed to them by all Australians.”

Among the many actions in which Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen were involved in Korea, two in particular, the battles of Kapyong and Maryang San, have become the focus of commemorations.

At Kapyong, 32 Australians died in fierce fighting, and the Battle of Maryang San, where 20 Australians died, was described by Official Historian, Robert O’Neill as the greatest single feat of the Australian Army in Korea.

In October last year, eight Australian veterans of the Korean War returned to Korea for the 65th anniversary commemorations of the battles of Kapyong and Maryang San.
“I had the pleasure of meeting this group of men both on that mission to the Republic of Korea and at services in Canberra last March to honour their service and sacrifice. Australia owes the men and women who served in Korea our ongoing thanks and gratitude,” Mr Tehan said.
27th Jul 2017
Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: Amelia Gard, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 4719

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.

Perth charity Bravery Trust steps in to avoid pauper funeral for military veteran

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Kate Campbell, PerthNow Sunday Times
 July 23, 2017 

IT was a travesty narrowly avoided — an ex-soldier estranged from his family who had taken his own life almost ending up in a pauper’s grave because no one would pay for his funeral.

That was until Perth-based charity Bravery Trust stepped in to ensure this man — who had served his country, but like many others had returned home broken, damaged and fighting his own internal war — received a proper farewell.

They even bought replica medals for his teenage sons, which they proudly wore to his funeral and promised to wear on Anzac Day.

Even though it was not strictly in Bravery Trust’s charter, when chairman Peter Fitzpatrick heard about how the Government and 12 other military charities had declined to help, his first thought at the prospect of this veteran being buried in a cardboard box was: “Not on our watch.”

“How can you say someone is not in need if they’re going to be put in a pauper’s grave when they’ve served their country?” he said.

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Peter Fitzpatrick, chairman of Bravery Trust, a charity that gives urgent financial aid to veterans in crisis. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

Sadly, this man’s demise is not isolated and he’s one of dozens of veterans who have taken their own lives so far this year.

There have been 325 confirmed suicides of people with at least one day of service with the Australian Defence Force between 2001 and 2015.

Mr Fitzpatrick estimated that figure would be more than 400 by now — 10 times the number of soldiers killed in battle over the same period — and more than 40 suicides alone so far this year.

Bravery Trust was one of more than 400 organisations and people to make a submission to a Senate inquiry into suicide by veterans, which was prompted by an investigation by The Sunday Times one year ago. A report on its findings is due next month.

Bravery Trust, which started in Perth in 2012 and is lesser-known than other military charities such as the RSL and Legacy, is an urgent financial safety net for veterans and their families, helping them pay their mortgage or rent, utility bills, children’s school fees, health expenses and providing them with Coles food vouchers.

The charity spends about $100,000 a month — or more than $1.1 million last year — to help struggling families. On top of that, it provides education and training scholarships for veterans and their partners.

Mr Fitzpatrick said it was a sad truth that we seemed to be more focused on honouring the dead than supporting the living.

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Bravery Trust - Supporting those who Serve

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Fighting for your country is hard, but the fight afterwards can be even harder.

Bravery Trust provides urgently needed financial support to our veterans and their families, who are suffering as a result of their service. The physical and mental impact of service can be overwhelming for our brave families. Help give them the support they deserve.

They gave everything for Australia. Australia, it’s time to give back to them.

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Tehan Media Statement - JOINT COMMUNIQUE LONDON 2017 INTERNATIONAL MINISTERIAL (5-EYES) CONFERENCE ON VETERANS’ ISSUES

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On 19 and 20 July 2017, Ministers for Defence People and Veterans from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand meet at the International Ministerial Conference on Veterans’ Issues in London.

They came together under a shared commitment to their defence and veteran communities to discuss veterans’ mental health and transition from military to civilian life.

 Over the two-day conference, the five countries identified many overlapping themes and mutual challenges, including for some nations addressing and treating post-traumatic disorder, rates of suicide and homelessness among veterans, barriers to mental health care, alternative therapies, veteran-centric approaches to the provision of services, and early intervention.

Delegates had an opportunity to hear from leading expert, Professor Sir Simon Wessely on veterans mental health challenges and were taken by the extent of the research and the key facts and findings. 

Delegates recognised that to face these challenges and progress reforms it was essential that evidence based research and data informed policy decisions and implementation. Ministers heard from clinical experts how myths about veterans' mental health were damaging efforts to encourage veterans to seek help as early as possible. They agreed that efforts must continue on improving the provision of information to the veterans community and to transform the delivery of support and services to the defence and veteran communities in all five nations.

Delegates agreed to establish a network between the five nations to share and undertake research and emerging data, confirming their continuing commitment to collaborate on strategies that recognise, support, and care for the defence and veteran communities across the five countries. The initial research that will be undertaken will look at risk assessments and prevention strategies for veterans at risk of suicide.

READ THE FULL CONNUNIQUE HERE

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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