Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service Name Change- 17 Apr 2007

Media Release

The Hon. Bruce Billson, MP

Minister for Veterans' Affairs

The Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service (VVCS) has been renamed the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service to better reflect the diversity of those it served, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Billson, announced today.

The Minister said the decision to change the name was supported by the Vietnam veteran community, which had been instrumental in establishing the counselling service.

“Some 25 years ago, Vietnam veterans lobbied the Australian Government to establish vital mental health services for their comrades; action which gave rise to the formation of the VVCS,” Mr Billson said.

“Over the years, the service has been expanded to include all Australian veterans, peacekeepers and their families.“

In recent years it became increasingly apparent that the name Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service didn’t resonate with younger veterans who had served in more recent conflicts and peace operations.

“The name said it was for ‘Vietnam veterans’—but it didn’t say it was for other veterans,” the Minister said. “The new name builds on the credibility and recognition of the VVCS while making it more inclusive of the broader veteran community.”

Mr Billson said the move to change the name arose out of extensive consultation with ex-service organisations and VVCS clients, who supported efforts to ensure the name better reflected the wider veteran and defence communities the VVCS served.

“It is important, however, that the role of Vietnam veterans in establishing the VVCS is not forgotten, the Minister said. “To this end, we will be using the phrase A service founded by Vietnam veterans in association with the new name of the service wherever possible to demonstrate our appreciation of their contribution.

“The acronym ‘VVCS’ will remain to recognise the strong heritage of the service and the affection clients have for the VVCS as it reaches out to more recent veterans, current ADF personnel with overseas service or emotional wellbeing needs and their families.

“Vietnam veterans did not have an easy time on their return from the war and the establishment of the VVCS was a direct result of their commitment to standing up for each other when the going got tough.

“The VVCS is another example of how Vietnam veterans were there for each other when the support and recognition they richly deserved wasn’t provided. We have learned from their experience and more recent veterans and current serving members continue to benefit from the insights and initiatives of our Vietnam veterans.

“I am delighted that as it continues to support current and future generations of service personnel, the VVCS will serve as a great ‘gift’ and living legacy of the mateship and mutual support demonstrated by Vietnam veterans.”

Media Contact:
Cameron Hill
0408 239 521