Secretary’s Message – Support Available During DVA’s Reduced Services Period

As we approach the end of the year, I take this opportunity to thank you for your time, contribution and dedication to supporting veterans and their families in 2020.

It has been a very challenging year, first with the bushfires and floods, then the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry findings. I am grateful for the way ex-service organisations have pulled together to support our veteran community through these challenging times.

The IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry findings continue to be an issue of significant public interest and I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that my priority, and the priority of DVA, remains the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families.

Please convey to your members that if they or someone close to them is concerned or has been affected by the Inquiry, they shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for support.  Open Arms – Veteran & Families Counselling is available 24/7 on 1800 011 046 or you can contact ‘Safe Zone Support’ anonymously on 1800 142 072. Both of these services are confidential and purely there for the wellbeing of the veteran community. So our message is simple: please use them.

Reduced services

DVA will continue providing support to veterans and their families during the holiday season. However, as usual, some services will be unavailable from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day. They are:

·       DVA’s Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) offices

·       DVA’s General Enquiries phone line and email

·       Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling centres

Please note however that the Open Arms counselling phone line will remain open 24 hours, seven days a week throughout the holiday period.

DVA staff will be available to process transport requests for medical treatment on 29, 30 and 31 December. Pension payment and incapacity payments dates will remain the same.

For full details on DVA’s reduced services over the holiday period, please visit the DVA website.

2021

I am looking forward to the New Year, and continuing to work with you to deliver the best possible outcomes for the veteran community.

Please also be aware that the next ESORT meeting will take place in mid to late February, and I look forward to seeing you then.

I wish you and all your members a merry Christmas and a happy and fulfilling New Year.

Liz Cosson AM CSC
Secretary Department of Veterans’ Affairs
E: [email protected] | E: [email protected]