Dear members and friends,
Since the last newsletter,
Australia has elected a new Government.
Although many were dismayed that Defence personnel and veterans' issues
very little focus during the election campaign, we should not take the
positive view that change will often bring new
Our general approach to advocacy remains to work constructively
with the Government, the Opposition, and the
cross bench, to advance the welfare and interests of the Defence and
I am meeting with the new Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence
Personnel, The Hon. Matt Keogh MP, in early
The meeting is an opportunity to outline the DFWA positions on several
key policy areas.
I would like to say a big thank all of those who generously donated
recent donation drive. We have a tight budget,
every penny helps! It really is appreciated.
Finally, a plug for DFWA. We are an independent voice for veterans of
the ADF and their families. We are focussed
the development of considered policy, adept at commenting on the myriad
of proposals, papers and statements that
from government and the bureaucracy that impact on the veteran family.
It is a constant task but a rewarding one. A
challenge that those with the ability to think, analyse and write will
If you are in interested in
assisting in this work on a volunteer basis,
then please get in touch.
Non-liability health care for Reservists
Non-liability health care enables eligible veterans to access treatment
at the Department of Veterans' Affairs'
for specified conditions, without needing to establish a link to
service. In a nutshell, it provides a White Card
certain conditions without the paperwork.
Under existing arrangements current and former full-time members of the
ADF including Reservists who have at least
day of continuous full-time service (CFT) have access to free mental
Many Reservists with periods of service in the ADF, sometimes more than
40 years, but have not been required or
opportunity to undertake a period of continuous full-time service.
Consequently, they are excluded from applying for
non-liability health care.
Access to DVA funded mental health care under the provision of NLHC
would be a significant measure toward ensuring
mental health and well-being of all Defence Reservists.
DFWA, together with the Defence Reserves Association and the Returned &
Services League of Australia wrote a joint
letter to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel, Matt
Keogh, seeking his support for the
non-liability health care to all those serving in the reserve forces.
read the joint media release here.
The Federal Election resulted a change of Government and a major shift
away from the major parties towards minor
Most would agree that policies and promises affecting the Defence
personnel and veteran communities were scarce
the election campaign. That said, Labor did go to the election with a
number of policies in some important areas
boosting ADF homeownership, increasing TPI pensions, and tackling
can read what their policies
DFWA will continue to work with Government, the Opposition, and the
minor parties to progress our policy objectives
improve the lives of currently serving members, veterans, and their
Indexation of Defence Force superannuation scheme pensions occurred from
the first pension day after the 1st of
line with the Consumer Price Index.
The CPI increase was of 3.5% - the largest increase since the 4.6%
increase following introduction of the GST in
While the CPI indexation is a relief to many, given the rising cost of
living, we should not stop
advocating for fair indexation
provisions to be applied to all
Defence Force superannuation schemes.
ADF Cover, Military Super, and DFRDB under 55s pensions are indexed only
to CPI. DFRB and DFRDB over 55s pensions
indexed to the greater of CPI, Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost
Index (PBLCI) or movements in the Average
The difference between the two indexations over the last five years is
1.9%. On an average Military Super pension of
$47,670, that is almost $35 less per fortnight.
DFWA is giving away two copies of the book by Ian Burrett -
How to Research and Honour our Returned War Heroes.
learn more about the book in the latest
To enter, simply join DFWA or
renew your membership online before 30
September 2022. Terms
Draft Legislation - Veteran Superannuation Invalidity Benefits Taxation
The Government is introducing legislation to “ensure no veteran pays
higher income tax because of the Federal
decision in Commissioner of Taxation v Douglas. A draft bill,
Treasury Laws Amendment (Taxation of Military Superannuation
Benefits) Bill 2022
and associated draft explanatory material, have been released for public
Submissions on the draft
legislation are being accepted until 5 August
2022. DFWA will be making a submission.
The first tranche of 2021 Census data was released on 28 June 2022.
Further tranches of data will continue to be
released into 2023.
The 2021 Census was the first to ask questions relating to service in
the Australian Defence Force. The question
whether the respondent is currently serving, or has previously served in
the Defence Force, and the type or
The Census question captures the various forms Defence Force service can
occur - both regular and reserve and
different combinations thereof.
The data released focuses on:
- Household composition, housing, high-school education, and household
- Age and sex, long-term health conditions, location, indigenous
status, assistance requirements
You can read more
The data released so far is interesting, but it is very narrow in terms
of what conclusions can be drawn. We are
interested to see future releases so that we can better understand
health, social, and economic factors affect
personnel, veterans, and their families.
The latest Camaraderie is
available online, now. Be sure
to check it out here!
Exploring the concept of the Veteran as a Sovereign Asset
During the first half of this year, DFWA-SA has been reviewing how we
can best support the objectives of DFWA at
National level while still delivering outcomes at the State level. We
have looked to concepts that are relevant
contemporary veteran and achievable by the committee and membership of
One element we have been exploring and developing is the concept of the
Veteran as a sovereign asset due to the
nature of military service. This supports the National objective of
Veteran Recognition through the Military
but seeks to define the next step and look for concrete outputs from the
While still in the formative stages, we (and others) have been using the
term as widely as possible over the
years to shift the focus of the public and politicians from the mindset
that all veterans suffer negative
their service to recognition and celebration of the strength within the
veteran psyche. It was particularly
hear the previous Minister for Veterans Affairs, Andrew Gee, using this
exact phrase during the Veteran
Awards last year.
Australian veterans bring qualities which are unique to the population
and more needs to be done to bring that
There is a great deal being done by a range of ESOs in helping with
issues from employment preparation to
homelessness. These are honorable and should be supported, but how do we
change the mindset of "they need to be
when veteran qualities of clarity of thought, communication, teamwork,
and an exposure to a level of diversity
companies will never achieve, all need to be recognised.
The list of positive Veteran qualities continues but the point is clear;
Veterans are unique, they possess,
training and operations, a range of unrecognized so-called "soft skills"
as well as practical skills. Their
profile in the workplace, volunteer organisation's, business and
politics is great to see, but we are still
now well-entrenched mindset. This needs to change and the language
around service Veterans needs to change
DFWA-SA will present our approach and tangible steps locally to
realization in future newsletters and
well as continuing to raise the issue in all our communication. Feedback
and thoughts on this issue are always
Royal Commission Update
The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide held its block 5
hearings in Townsville between 20 and 30
The focus of the hearings was around life at Lavarack Barracks, the
experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
ADF members, mental health screening, and critical incident handling and
Key witnesses included BRIG Kahlil Fegan, Commander 3rd Combat Brigade;
Chief of the Defence Force, GEN Angus
and former Ministers of Veterans' Affairs the Hon. Andrew Gee and the
Hon. Darren Chester.
Block 6 hearings will be held in Hobart commencing Monday 01 August
2022. Hearings will be conducted at the
Anyone wishing to make a submission to the Commission can do so on the
Commission's website. The Commission will
submissions until 13 October 2023.
More information is
on the Royal Commission website.