04 April 2014

Western Australia may provide special cells for jailed veterans

The Western Australian is reporting here that WA jails could have special cells for veteran inmates similar to concepts of veteran-only dormitories in the United States.  It is estimated that there are at least 50 veterans in jails in WA. The Returned & Services League of Australia (to which I am a member) had indicated it would work with the WA Government in the proposal to house veterans separately in jails. 

03 April 2014

Submission on Review of Australian DVA Advocacy & Welfare Training

Below is the submission I made today to the Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs on the Review of Advocacy and Welfare Training:  

The views expressed herein are offered strictly in my personal capacity.[1]  I do not speak for, and these views should not be attributed to, any other organisation or entity.    

Veterans’ organisations, or Ex-Service Organisations (ESO), have traditionally provided welfare, entitlement advice and advocacy to active and reserve Australian Defence Force members, veterans who have previously served and their families.  This has, for the most part, been achieved through volunteers who themselves have served in uniform. These volunteers have attended the Department of Veterans Affairs (“DVA”) National Training & Information Program (“TIP”) which has assisted in the development of their welfare and advocacy skills.[2] 

In January 2009 Professor David Dunt of the University of Melbourne noted, in his Review of Mental Health Care in the ADF and Transition through Discharge, that “[t]he future role for advocates has been however the basis for comment both in the Doogan Inquiry and the companion study to this report Independent study of Suicide in the Ex-Service Community – see Section 5 of that report. Both argue for the need for further training and accreditation of advocates to ensure that they are able to provide professional advice across all three veterans (sic) compensation acts including M[ilitary] R[ehabilitation] C[ompensation] A[ct] with its focus on rehabilitation as well as compensation.”  (Dunt Review at p. 127.)