Outcomes from the Veteran Issues meeting of 20 Jun 24

Ian Lindgren

Chairperson

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This is a summary of the outcomes from the Veteran, Veteran Community and Veteran Support Network Issues meeting of 20 Jun 24. The minutes are about to be circulated for confirmation and until then the release will be restricted to this post. Our attendance was 32 from a variety of organisations, and as individuals, from all states and territories except one.

This is a representative cross-section of the community that enhances those who represent the veteran and veteran family community to DVA at the formal established meetings. We appreciate attendance from Ex-Service Organisation Round Table (ESORT) Members such as the Australian Special Air Service Association, the RSL, TPI Federation Australia and for the first time the United Nations and Overseas Policing Association of Australia.

Our aim is not to conduct a DVA bashing opportunity, but to work positively with DVA and the Commonwealth to solve these issues.

I’d like to thank the co-chair, Greg Whitehouse.

The Short Term Purpose of the Meeting

  • By 1 August 2024 to define and understand the most pressing veteran, veteran family community and veteran support network needs in order to present them to DVA in a manner that is sufficiently compelling it leaves no option but to resolve them.
  • DVA has indicated that it will attend the August meeting.

The Top Issues

  • Pri1. Claims being processed in a humane a rapid way
  • Pri 1. Act to have veteran cards accepted everywhere
  • Pri 1. To raise the DVA Fees schedule so it’s in line with others or above it.
  • Pri 1. To seek effective governance across all non-internal aspects of DVA related to providing services to veterans, their families, and the support network is essential. This oversight includes verifying that services meet expectations, fees are reasonable, and processes like card acceptance are streamlined, aligning with the broader strategic goals outlined earlier.
  • Pri 2. To resolve the inadequacies in invoice payments so invoices are paid on commercial terms to government standards which is 5 days if submitted by online portal, and 20 days for others.
  • Pri 2. To have medical help available much faster, eg 30 days for a psychiatrist through Open Arms is poor.

In addition to the aforementioned matters, a high priority is placed on the new veteran legislation. Greg and I ensured that decisions regarding priorities were not influenced by personal preferences but rather considered objectively. While we briefly discussed the new legislation, I intend to gather feedback from attendees as the meeting minutes are finalised.

Outcomes from Meetings being acted On

In a follow-up to the meeting, I received a phone call today from the adult children of a war widow who, in her late 90s, had to transition to an aged care facility. The children, unfamiliar with veteran affairs, faced challenges navigating DVA and discovered their mother unexpectedly lost entitlements and funds. They expressed gratitude for our collective efforts in addressing the issue, a collaborative endeavor involving DVA. The family appreciated the proactive communication from DVA and a reimbursement exceeding their mother's losses. Despite their mother's subsequent passing, I anticipate a debrief from DVA to understand the root cause of the issues that prompted nearly 70 pages of complaints from the war widow's children.

A number of people volunteered to write briefs for DVA.

Survey - Veteran and Veteran Community Health Care Support - Your Opinion

The survey into Veteran and Veteran Community Health Care Support remains live here: https://bit.ly/3V5UXRs

No one saw these results before participating on the meeting and it is interesting that they are similar. Despite survey fatigue, we need more people to undertake the survey please.

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