Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Released on behalf of Minister for Veterans' Affairs - Media Release DVA01

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ Deputy Commissioner in Victoria, Mike O’Meara, today encouraged veterans affected by the bushfires to contact the Department for information on how to access support and services.

Mr O’Meara said the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) was available to support veterans and their families affected by the disaster.

“The horrific bushfires across Victoria have devastated the lives of many Victorians including veterans and their families. Many in the veteran community rely on DVA for advice and for those in need there is immediate support available,” Mr O’Meara said.

People receiving DVA payments and concerned about those payments should call the Department to discuss their circumstances. Callers in metro areas can ring 133 254 and regional callers can ring 1800 555 254, for the price of a local call.

Veterans who have their property insured with Defence Service Homes Insurance and whose property has been affected by the bushfires are encouraged to contact their local customer service officer on 1300 552 662 to discuss the assistance available under their policy.

“All claims for assistance will be managed promptly to ensure that policy holders can return to some degree of comfort as soon as possible,” Mr O’Meara said.

All Veterans’ Affairs Network offices in Victoria are open. Offices are located in Bairnsdale, Morwell, Bendigo, Wodonga and Frankston. Veterans can call 1300 55 19 18 to reach their local office. They may be able to provide more local specific information to assist veterans in need.

The VVCS - Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service is available to assist veterans and their families in crisis situations and provides supportive, confidential counselling to veterans and their families who need support. The VVCS can be contacted on 1800 011 046, 24 hours a day.

The Australian and Victorian Governments, along with a number of charitable and community organisations, are offering a range of support services which offer personal, emotional, psychological and financial help to those affected. The Victorian Government, through the Department of Human Services, is a central information point for people affected by the fires. It has set up a Bushfire Information Line and those requiring assistance can phone 1800 240 667.

MEDIA INQUIRIES: DVA Media on 02 6289 6203

The VVCS - Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 011 046.

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