From: APPVA National
Sent: Wed 17/10/2012 6:59 PM

National AGENDA 2012/2013

These are some of the issues that have been represented to the Government without resolution, of which we seek consideration by the Government to undertake to resolve these matters that relate to our constituency. There has been significant documentation of these matters, however there has been any conciliation or offer of compromise made by the Government to our veterans.

It is sought that perhaps formal response to the APPVA on these matters that have been previously represented in the past, along with our consultations to the Minister’s Office is made, so that we are cognisant of the Labor Government’s stance toward these issues.

APPVA ISSUES FOR POLITICAL RESPONSE

1. Australian Peacekeeping Memorial – what is the expected plan from the Government to see this Memorial built? The Memorial Project has been in concept since 2003, with Federal Funding of only $200,000. Continually represented of note Nov 2011, March 2012 and August 2012. The Memorial needs around $2.9M to complete construction. The Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project Committee (APMPC), has been hampered by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC); further Government funding; and revocation of the Deductible Gift Recipient status from the Minister of VA in 2009 (Alan Griffin). The latter is crucial to encourage a range of corporate and individual sponsors, which has been a very difficult task to raise funds.

2. Building Excellence Support and Training (BEST) Funding. That the APPVA specialises in Multi-eligibility Veteran and Compensation Legislation and we have been severely impaired by the funding cuts to deliver these much needed services to all veterans, however focussing on those who have multiple eligibility and MRCA. Represented to the Minister in November 2011, March 2012 and August 2012. Consideration toward funding the proposed APPVA National Younger Veteran Outreach Program in terms of virtual advocacy. Paper written by Michael Quinn of dynamic improvements to services.

3. The MRCA Review Response from Government. We have concerns of the report, in which it was incorrectly written in terms that the representatives of the ESO and Defence agreed to abolish the Service Differential and not to pursue the 10% increase for WLS Deaths. This has been represented to the Minister in August. We have yet to receive a response to our paper presented to the Minister on this matter, along with our representations in August that the Response Report is inaccurate as to what actually occurred and what was agreed by the ESO Group and Defence on a number of issues – most importantly the Service Differential being removed with the Peacetime Service amounts of Permanent Impairment matching those of warlike/non-warlike service amounts.

3. (a) An example that we are concerned about is with the indexation of fortnightly rates of pension (and lump sums), it will see a further deterioration of real time value to peacetime service personnel from their peacetime medical conditions. As of 10 Oct 2012, 30 Impairment points under MRCA will provide f/n payment for a veteran on warlike service as $191.34. The same 30 Impairment Points for a Peacetime veteran will be $107.00. A difference of $84.34. Our point has always been that it doesn’t matter where the impairment or incapacity occurred, it is an incapacity or impairment. This was never the case under the VEA or SRCA Permanent Impairment systems.

4. On Base Advisory Service (OBAS) – update, what are the client dynamics, statistics and how successful has it been in terms of Primary Claims? Is the referral system working?

5. The APPVA and Younger Veterans need more active consultation and representation on a range of national forums, NAC is one of these. Marty Carr is one PK on the National Advisory Committee (NAC), with the Chair having short overseas service deployments, however we contend that there is a significant increase in Younger Veterans utilising the Veterans’ and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and there appears to be an imbalance of Viet Nam Veterans on this Forum in comparison to client dynamics.

6. It has been identified by the APPVA that there needs to be a National Younger Veteran Forum, to be inclusive Post 75 PTS; Peacekeepers ; those who have served on warlike service since 1989 onward, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of the growing population of this group, it appears to be continually overlooked in a range of areas. Representation from a wide range of Young Veteran Groups, including APPVA; Gulf War Veterans; Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of Australia; ISPA; Soldier On; Defence Families of Australia; ADF; Police; and DFWA. In other words identified ESO that are relevant toward Contemporary Younger Veterans’ issues.

7. Recognition of Peacekeepers, includes names on the Roll of Honour at the AWM. Represented Mar and Aug 2012. Media interest in the matter. It is public institution of which the CEO and AWM Council members are appointed by the Minister. The APPVA has represented the case for 48 people to have their names listed on a roll of honour. Not in a “Book of Remembrance”, that is in a lockable cabinet, in an obscure section of the AWM Balustrades. This is an insult to their supreme sacrifice to this nation and also demeans such service.

8. Update on current recognition of the Border Protection pre-1997 Medal, as disclosed on visit in Aug 2012. APPVA to submit case to the Minister VA for further consideration. We contend that the RAN has been operating Attack Class Patrol Boats in the Northern Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since approximately 1967. RAAF Maritime Surveillance of the EEZ, including patrolling for enemy vessels and submarines during the Cold War. Australian Army Regional Force Surveillance Units (RFSU), that were introduced in 1981 to provide land force surveillance operations of the Northern Australian Area. Army Staff involved in the training of RFSU should also be included as eligible for the award of the Operational Service Medal – Border Protection.

9. The need for recognition of ADF Humanitarian and Defence Relief Operations in the form of the HOSM and reclassification to Hazardous Service for these operations as they are above and beyond that of normal Peacetime Service in Australia. 9 ADF members were killed on ADF Disaster Relief Operations on 2 April 2005 on Nias Island, Indonesia, when their Sea King Helicopter crashed during OP SUMATRA ASSIST II. There appears to be no consideration toward the risks associated with such operations in terms of contamination of disaster sites; countries with known disease; no adequate infrastructure for support to such operations as is the case within Australia; risk of harm through a range of exposures; short notice deployments; acting upon the request of the host nation or the United Nations Disaster Relief Office (UNDRO); and helping to provide solace, comfort and dignity of those victims of such disasters.

10. The recognition of Peacekeepers through the Proposed Australian Peacekeeping Service Medal, in order to recognise the significant milestone of 65 years of ADF Peacekeeping Operations (PKO – since 1947) and the contribution of Australian Federal Police PKO (since 1964), non-stop. A commitment of over 70,000 troops have been contributed by Australia toward International Peace, Security and Stability. There have been up to 28 Australian Peacekeepers who have been killed/died on PKO since 1953 to 2011. 4 AFP Officers have been killed on PKO since 1969 to 2004.

10 (a). Other recognition is a Campaign Medal for service in Somalia 1992-1995; ASM Clasp RHODESIA; Retrospective awarding of the IRAQ Campaign Medal to those ADF members who served in the Gulf War Jan 1991 and other prescribed operations up to April 2003; Review into Distinguished honours for warlike service PKO; A Memorial Cross for those who are killed or die as a result of their ADF service; a proposed Sacrifice Medal for those seriously wounded, injured or ill; ASM SPECIAL OPS for some ADF units; and ASM SPECIAL COMMUNICATIONS for ADF Electronic Warfare units that conducted Special Communications Operations (SCO).

11. Reclassification of MAJ Ray Williams (Retired) service with the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in Lebanon in 1984 during the Lebanese War, from non-warlike to warlike service. His case has taken 10 years thus far to seek recognition and granting of Qualifying Service. This situation should be rectified in a similar to matter to MAJ Mattina Jewell’s who was in the Israeli/Lebanese War of 2006. Representations have been made by MAJ Williams and the APPVA supports these representations.

12. A range of medallic recognition issues are also outstanding, including concerns of the legal construct of the Defence Honours, Awards and Appeals Tribunal (DHAAT). Senator Feeney has been asked for a meeting on a number occasions, however since he came to office in the position of PARLSEC Defence in 2010, we have yet to discuss these matters with him. The DHAAT has been an adversarial decision-making body for medallic recognition claims, particularly for those who have served Post 1975 onward.

12 (a). However, a number of older generation veterans have had decisions in their favour for a range of service including the US Army Small Ships Veterans (WWII) being approved to be awarded Australian and Imperial WWII Medals; Viet Nam Veterans (D Coy 6RAR and other retrospective honours); UN Command Armistice Commission (UNMAC) veterans with an Australian General Service Medal – Korea and the Returned from Active Service Badge; Viet Nam Entertainers (VN Logistics Support Medal (VLSM) and AASM 45-75 Clasp VIETNAM); Far East POW with honours; RAAF UBON (Thailand) approved for the VLSM; and SASR Counter Terrorism/Special Recovery award of the ASM CT/SR – other CT/SR supporting troops are not being recognised.