logo

President’s Annual Report – November 2018

In this Report, my first as your President, I would like to acknowledge the huge amount of support I have received from the National Board. I thank each of you sincerely; you have all been wonderful, and patient! When any new person steps into such well known shoes there may be stresses and differences but you have each been so supportive and kind.

Narelle, thank you for being there to guide me along what has been a particularly busy year. You have been simply terrific.

I now present my Annual Report for 2018.

The Submission to the Productivity Commission – Our submission has approached the following:

Recommendation 1. That the Veteran Education Scheme (VCES) more equitably reflect the Original Intent of the Soldier’s Children Education Scheme in providing educational support for Veterans children fairly, and not to the detriment of the family financially.

Recommendation 2. That comparable Home Care Services be available to Veterans and War Widows irrespective of which Act the Veteran or War Widow comes under.

Recommendation 3. That the contribution of the Partner/Spouse and family be recognised with the issue of a Non-Liability Health Care Card, or similar as contained in our submission, for the treatment of recognised mental health and stress related disorders.

Lesley Minner and Bev Benporath were instrumental in the development of Recommendations 1 and 2 and between us, I believe that we prepared a submission we can be proud of. Let’s hope that the Productivity Commission sees fit to consider our recommendations as valid.

Representing you, the members, I have attended so many functions this year. One in particular struck a chord with me. The Honouring Women United by Defence Service at the War Memorial in Canberra was a moving experience. Later that evening and under the same banner, I was lucky enough to attend the dinner. Several of our members were also invited; Rona Lunney and Bev Benporath who represent us on the Female Veterans and Families Forum, Narelle Bromhead and Pat Cleggett. There were women representing so many organisations. What we could all do together could be amazing.

Families and Employment Forums and Invictus 2018 Symposium, was held in Sydney this past week. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet with and listen to Veterans’ Affairs representatives from Canada, United States, England, New Zealand, and from our own DVA. I was fortunate to sit on the Families Forum panel and it was a very valuable experience. Some exciting concepts were explored and a couple of promising contacts made.

While we were in Canberra for our AGM, Minister for Education, Dan Tehan gave us an appointment to discuss an issue brought to us by S.A. Member Lidia Hall. We propose to ask Minister Tehan if it is possible to have a tick box on school enrolment forms for both primary and secondary children to indicate that the parent/s of the child are or have been ADF members. We feel that this information could be beneficial to the children involved and the teaching staff, as a means of recognising and providing early intervention when dealing with the many issues children may face as the child of a Veteran.

Thanks to each State President who sent a letter on this issue to their State Minister for Education and Shadow Minister. Well done ladies.

The unveiling of our plaque was one of the highlights for P.V.A. Victorian members in August this year. It is to us, and I hope to you too, a thing of great beauty and represents all that we stand for. The plaque is placed just outside the entry door to Ward 17 at the Repatriation Hospital and every person going past will get something from seeing it there. The Partners on their way past will perhaps remember that they matter too. We were more than grateful to the men of Coral Balmoral who shared the day, and the unveiling of their beautiful plaque with us. Also to the men of the East Melbourne Tramways RSL who didn’t leave their gallantry on the battlefield and came to our aid with the last money we needed, our deepest gratitude. I hope that when South Australia Branch unveils their plaque that they have as special a day as we did.

All of us, each State Committee, each Sub-Branch, each member, contributes so much to the whole which is The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia Inc. and I thank you sincerely for that contribution. Each of us makes a difference.

I would like to make mention of those members who, as our representatives, attend the forums on the National Health Aged and Community Care, MATES, ESORT, Operational Working Party, Female Veterans and Family Forum. The State Representatives who attend the Deputy Commissioners’ Forums, the DVA meetings, Senate Committees and Legislative Workshops. Our Welfare Officers. All voluntarily and all for the good of our members. Well done ladies and thank you. Your contribution is immeasurable.

National AGM - Canberra 23rd October:

We were very fortunate to have as our Guest Speaker, Ms. Liz Cosson, Secretary of the DVA (Department of Veteran Affairs), who spoke about her vision for the future of the Department. She was very honest and informative and I am sure we all felt lucky to have her spend the time with us.

Members form Maitland, Yass, Canberra, Newcastle and Victoria joined us. It’s always so lovely to get together with our staunch supporters and a really lovely afternoon was enjoyed by all.

This year, for me, has been a learning curve. There have been interruptions, called “life”, which slowed me down a little. Nonetheless P.V.A. has gone forward, our profile has been elevated, we have had a great twelve months and as I wish you all the very best for the coming year, I commit myself to continuing to work for the benefit of all Partners.

Heather Evans