DVA eNews - Feb18

February 2018



Welcome to the new-look DVA e-news, featuring updates on the Anzac Day Schools' Awards and the new Veteran Centric Reform Bill. Also in this issue:
  • Centenary of Defence Service Homes 
  • Applications open for Veteran and Community Grants 
  • Veterans' art recognised in Vic Health Awards 
  • Republic of Korea War Service Medal approved 

Open now: Anzac Day Schools' Awards 2018

The 2018 Anzac Day Schools’ Awards competition is now open.

 

The Anzac Day Schools’ Awards are designed to promote learning about this significant commemorative day. Since the Awards' inception, DVA has received many inspiring entries and encourages schools to participate in this rewarding activity.

 

Winners and runners-up of the competition will receive prize money, a plaque and certificates. There are also six special categories that schools can be nominated for that encourage a specific focus for entries.    

 

There are many significant events that schools can choose to inspire their commemorative events. By theming their Anzac Day activities and the entry, students can gain a greater insight into a specific aspect of Australia’s wartime history.  Judges are interested in creative, innovative entries where students demonstrate an understanding of Australia’s wartime history.

It is highly recommended that schools involve local veterans in their activities as previous entries have shown that by doing so, students can enhance their learning, gain empathy and demonstrate higher engagement with Anzac Day.

 

For more information on the competition or to submit an entry, visit The Anzac Portal. Entries close 25 May 2018.

2018 marks 100 years of Defence Service Homes


It’s a while away yet, but this Christmas Defence Service Homes turns 100.

On 25 December 1918, six weeks after the end of the First World War, then Governor-General Sir Ronald Crauford Munro Ferguson gave royal assent to the War Service Homes Act ‘to make provisions for Homes for Australian Solders and Dependants of Australian Soldiers’.

The Act created the War Services Homes Commission, nine months after the inauguration of the parent Repatriation Department. The Commission was designed to be ‘of some assistance in making the burden of life easier to the returned soldier’.

The eligible customer base for the organisation at its inception consisted of the 270,541 servicemen who had made it home after the First World War, and widows and certain widowed mothers of those killed in action.

The first home was completed on 21 July 1919 in Canterbury NSW.

The organisation became Defence Service Homes in 1972 when the benefits of the scheme were extended to those who had been deployed during more recent conflicts.

Today Defence Service Homes continues to offer home building insurance to eligible veterans, Australian Defence Force members and their surviving partners, providing home loans to around 5,000 clients and home insurance to 55,000. 

Find out more on the Defence Service Homes website.

Veterans' art recognised in Vic Health Awards



Leading health promotion agency, VicHealth, recognised the Australian National Veterans Arts Museum(ANVAM) in the prestigious annual VicHealth awards in December 2017. ANVAM’s inaugural exhibition, A March to Art: Identity, was awarded a Highly Commended by VicHealth in the ‘Building Health through Art’ category.

The exhibition included works by 18 current and ex-serving veterans from across Australia, representing all three services, and family members with a focus on the value of arts for veterans' wellbeing. 

View all artworks from the A March to Art: Identity exhibition on the ANVAM website.

ANVAM’s next exhibition, March to Art: Community, will open on 25 March through to 25 April 2018 at the Collins Place Gallery in Melbourne.
 

Vetaffairs Summer edition



The Summer edition of Vetaffairs isonline now, featuring: the By the Left campaign, which aims to prevent the questioning of women veterans over the placement of their medals; an update on DVA's trial online claims application, MyService; a feature on widows working to raise awareness of issues around service-related suicide; and 2018 Young Queenslander of the Year Phillip Thompson on the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards.
 
 

Veteran Centric Reform Bill helps veterans and families

On 15 February 2018, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, introduced the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-centric Reforms No. 1) Bill 2018 (VCR Bill) into the Parliament. The VCR Bill would implement several new initiatives to deliver additional services to the veteran community and their families.

 

The Bill would provide additional support services for veterans and their families through increased access to childcare, home care and counselling, and create a new veteran payment to help address concerns raised by the final report of the Senate Inquiry into Suicide by Veterans and Ex-Service Personnel. 

The Veteran Payment will be a new income support payment to provide interim financial support while a veteran’s mental health claim is decided. Partners of veterans may be eligible for the Veteran Payment.

 

Other measures in the VCR Bill include a new pilot program to provide improved mental health support to veterans in remote and regional areas of Australia and the automation of a qualifying service determination to make it easier for veterans to make an application for a service pension.

 

Applications open for Veteran and Community Grants

Applications for DVA's Veteran and Community Grants are now available on the Australian Government’s Community Grants Hub. This is the first of DVA’s grants programs to be made available on the Hub.

The establishment of the Hub ensures grants are accessible to all Australians including veteran organisations.

Ex-service organisations, veteran representative groups, community-based and private organisations are encouraged to apply online via the Hub to receive funding for projects or activities which improve the independence and quality of life for members of the veteran community.  

If you need help using the Hub, assistance can be provided through the Hub itself, via email  (support@communitygrants.gov.au) or by phoning 1800 020 283.

If you think you will need any help, please ask early. This will ensure that any issues can be worked through in time for your application to be considered for funding.

Progressively, other DVA grant programs will continue to open on the Hub over coming months. In early March, theBuilding in Support and Excellence andGrants in Aid programs will open, followed by the Saluting Their Service Commemorations Community Grantsprogram in late March.    

To subscribe to receive alerts about opening grants programs on the Hub, please register for alerts atwww.communitygrants.gov.au.
 

Republic of Korea War Service Medal approved for Korean War veterans



Veterans of the Korean War have been approved to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Michael McCormack said the approval to wear this medal after it was initially refused by the British Government in 1951 shows the Australian Honours and Awards system has evolved to become its own unique system of recognising our service men and women.

'The Australian Council of Korea Veterans Associations has campaigned to have the decision reconsidered from an Australian perspective,' Mr McCormack said.

'The approval to wear the Republic of Korea War Service Medal demonstrates the Australian Defence Force’s willingness to consider and accept change.

'During the Korean War, in which more than 15,000 Australians served, Australia used the Imperial Honours and Awards system and was therefore subject to the award policies set by the United Kingdom.'

Mr McCormack said the Republic of Korea War Service Medal was introduced by South Korea in 1951 to recognise the assistance provided by members of the United Nations forces in combatting communist aggression in Korea.

'It has been policy to accept only one foreign award for a particular service or campaign,' Mr McCormack said.

'In this case the United Nations Medal Korea had been accepted and therefore the offer of the Republic of Korea War Service Medal from the South Korean Government was refused.'

As a foreign award, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal is not administered by Defence. Eligible veterans may purchase the replica medal from any reputable medal dealer. Find out more on Defence's website.

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Vetaffairs is published as a free newspaper for Australia's veteran community.

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