Report on the RARA’s 2018 AGM and National Council Meeting

The RAR Association’s AGM and the annual National Council Meeting were conducted in Townsville on 7 and 8 October. All State and Battalion Associations were present. It is interesting to note that the Associations which represent the Battalions no longer on the Order of Battle are generally still strong (2/4 RAR, 4RAR, 5/7RAR, 8 RAR and 9 RAR).

Mike von Berg is the Chair of the National Board and the Directors are Ted Chitham, who is also our hard working secretary, Hori Howard, Pat McIntosh, Trevor Dixon, who is our web master and Phil Thompson who represents our young volunteers. Mike and Phil were re-elected for a further three year term.

It was noted that the RAR Association is highly regarded in national circles. Mike is a member of the Ex Service Organisations Round Table (ESORT) which advises the Federal Government on veterans’ policy. He is also the ESORT’s representative on the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and has recently been appointed to the Strategic Governance Board of the Advocacy Training and Development Program (ATDP) .Phil Thompson represents us on the DVA’s Younger Veterans – Contemporary Needs Forum (YVF) and Clem Russell, our national pensions and compensation advisor, is a member of the DVA Operations Working Party.

Guest speakers were The Hon Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and deputy leader of the House, Major General Mark Kelly, who is the Repatriation Commissioner as well as the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Australian Regiment and Ms Liz Cosson, the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. They updated us on what is occurring at national level within the Government, DVA and the Regiment.

Some significant items were:

  • A veteran is now someone who has served for one day.
  • A White Card medical treatment card for mental health issues is now available to anyone who has had one day’s full-time military service.
  • DVA now has details of all those who have served. This will permit quicker responses to claims.
  • 40 medical conditions have been added to the list which requires no additional evidence during the disability claims process.
  • VVCS will be renamed “Open Arms” which is expected to emphasise that it is open to all.

All Associations presented their reports. The main theme was the need to attract younger veterans to our associations. It was reaffirmed that our policy is that those leaving the service should as a matter of priority join their Battalion Associations, but if there happens not to be an active Association in their home state, they should join the State Association so that they can still continue to be members of the RAR family. It was also confirmed that those Associations which had close links with the serving Battalions were the strongest. This is seen as the best way to get through to those leaving the service. RARA support is available to all who have served in the Regiment and their families.

The Queensland Branch of the RAR National Association which manages the RAR National Memorial Walk, presented their report on the RAR Memorial. The Walk, which is located within Enoggera Barracks, is an outstanding tribute to our fallen. It is maintained by RAR volunteers, the Queensland Branch of our Association and serving units from 7 Brigade . The Walk is well worth a visit to anyone who is in Brisbane but patience is required to gain entry to Enoggera Barracks due to the current security level.

There were many items on the RARA’s NCM agenda including the following:

  • Suicide and self-harm – critical group assessment and assistance.
  • Homeless veterans – solutions.
  • Future of the National Memorial Walk.
  • The future of advocacy including delivery.
  • The Productivity Commission inquiry into DVA.
  • Indexation of pensions and superannuation.
  • Incarcerated veterans. Statistics and support.
  • Defence or partnership hub test for those leaving the ADF.
  • Soldier Recovery Program.
  • Transition of ADF families.
  • Conditions of Service including the Workplace Remuneration Arrangements.
  • The need for a Military Covenant between the Government and the ADF.

Issues which were reported on and  discussed included the following:

  • The status and future of the upgrading service at RCB to warlike service.
  • RAR MIAs from the Korean War.
  • The need for a day to commemorate the service of contemporary  veterans.
  • The award of a medal for those wounded in action.
  • The need for our Associations and members to provide feedback on matters requiring advocacy.
  • The need for Associations to be active in the social media space.
  • Mental Health- transition – suicide – employment.
  • Well-being.
  • Veterans Support Organisations “fostered” by the RARA

With the Federal election not too far away we will be working to put together a short list of key issues which we alone and with The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) will put forward to the major parties. We will engage with our Associations in this task and we will ask that they will join us in putting them before their local candidates.

Just some of the contemporary issues are:

  • The exclusion of  the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (trustees of our military superannuation schemes) from the Royal Commission into misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial services industry.
  • The fact that TPI and Special Rate disability compensation payments have not kept up with the cost of living.
  • Superannuation matters including Fair Indexation for all military superannuation payments, MSBS portability and access to employer benefits, removal of MSBS Maximum Benefit Limits and DFRDB Commutation
  • Mental health and Veterans’ suicide.
  • Transition including employment post military service.
  • Support and care for members and former members of the ADF who were involved in the Quinoline anti-malarial drug ‘trial’

The importance of communications in achieving our strategic directions (outlined in our Road Map) was a major topic for discussion. The key priorities determined were to open up membership to all former and current members of the RAR and their families and to enable a simplified, seamless, digital communications network that will allow us to engage with our members.

The weekend was rounded off by a visit to 1 RAR where we witnessed an imaginative program designed to improve marksmanship and urban warfare tactics.

The 2019 meeting is planned for Adelaide.

 

 

We did it!  Final concept plans for Oasis revealed…

Well we did it!

Working closely with the Queensland Government (Coralee O’Rourke, our State representative for Mundingburra, in particular) and Counterpoint Architects for the past 6 months to perfect the master plan, we now have a clear way ahead.

The step up from just refitting an old DPI building to redesigning the entire 5000m2 block and saving significant money by incorporating half the current building and preparing a master plan for growth of The Oasis Townsville is gold!

In February we’ll complete the detailed design and we’ll start demolition and construction after the potential wet season (fingers crossed we get one!). It’s been a bit tricky working with bureaucracy and politicians not to get ahead of government decision making and financial approvals and information dissemination but your patience has been rewarded.
Thanks to everyone involved.

John Caligari
Executive Officer

READ MORE HERE

 

 

 

RAR Association (WA Branch) Regimental Dinner, Saturday the 24th November 2018 – Perth

The Secretary of the RAR Association WA Branch, Jack Babbage  extends an invitation to all RAR present and past serving persons to attend the RAR Regimental Dinner (70th Anniversary), to be celebrated commencing at 6 pm on Saturday the 24th November 2018, at the Grosvenor Hotel, Perth.

This is a great opportunity to keep the Regimental spirit alive  in WA with friends and fellow warriors.
“The spirit, which grows up in a Battalion (Regiment) when it has been welded together into a true fighting unit, is a comradeship almost spiritual in its strength and intensity. It springs from hardships shared equally, risks run by all in common and its power exceeds most of the emotions that an ordinary man will ever know. The care of soldiers for one another, their sure and calm dependence on each other are hard to understand by anyone who has not known it.”       Osmar White Australian War Correspondent

For details contact Jack Babbage on (08) 9349 0826 or by email [email protected]

Duty First

 

Royal Australian Regiment 70th Anniversary Events: 23rd November 2018

The Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) will celebrate its 70th anniversary with events in Canberra on 23 November 2018, including a parade open to the public to be conducted at the Australian War Memorial.
All serving and ex-serving members of the RAR, their family and friends, as well as ADF members and the public are warmly invited to attend these events :
70th Anniversary Parade.
A parade featuring the Queen’s and Regimental Colours of all Battalions of the RAR and a Guard from the 8/9th Battalion RAR supported by RAR Pipes and Drums and the RMC Band will be conducted on the Australian War Memorial parade ground commencing at 1530 h. His Excellency the Governor General of Australia, will be the Reviewing Officer for the Parade. For those wishing to attend in uniform, dress is Dress 1B (Ceremonial Service Dress)
Last Post Ceremony.
In acknowledging those members of the RAR who died during their service, the Last Post Ceremony will remember the life and sacrifice of Corporal Kevin Cooper from 2 RAR, who was Killed In Action on 26 July 1953 during the Battle of Samichon in the Korean War.

All serving and ex-serving members of the RAR and their families and friends are invited to attend the Ceremony commencing at 1700 h. Please be in place by 1650 h.

Jason Blain
Brigadier
Head of Corps
Royal Australian Infantry
Contact officer: BRIG Simon Gould
RAR 70th Lead Coordinator
Telephone: 0437 715 642
Email: [email protected]

Virtual Reality Brings Australian Remembrance Trail to Life

VIRTUAL reality technology and stunning 360-degree drone footage are bringing the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front to Australians across the world, through an Anzac 360 app featuring interactive videos.
download 16The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Darren Chester, today launched the new app at the Sir John Monash Centre in France.
“While Gallipoli will be forever etched in our nation’s history, it was right here on the Western Front that we suffered our greatest losses during the First World War,” Mr Chester said.
“This new app and videos, developed in partnership with News Corp Australia and produced by Grainger Films, will allow all Australians, including our next generation of school children, to experience these sites from their classroom or at home in their living room.
“Most importantly, it allows those who cannot visit these sites in person the opportunity to feel like a visitor, but at the same time inspiring others to travel over here to France, or across the border in Belgium.”
“The partnership with News Corp Australia will allow us to take viewers on a journey by exploring Australia’s story on the Western Front through a present day lens and technology.”
Eight key sites and battles are explained, highlighting the challenges our troops faced some 100 years ago, from the well positioned enemy to the tactical decisions that had to be made, or moments of bravery that resulted in a Victoria Cross.
The clips merge 360-degree aerial and ground footage from the present day with period imagery, graphics and more.
“This year we have seen our nation commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battles in Le Hamel and Villers-Bretonneux, and also mark the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre, which covers just some of the topics and sites featured in these videos,” Mr Chester said.
“I encourage all Australians to download the app and view the videos, learn more about the Australian Remembrance Trail and in doing so, never forgetting our troops and what they did right here on the Western Front,” Mr Chester said.
The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play- search Anzac 360.

10th November 2018

Find Your Local Remembrance Day Service

This Sunday, 11 November represents a particularly special Remembrance Day – the Centenary of the Armistice of WWI.

There are more than 200 Remembrance Day services and special Armistice Centenary events organised by RSL Sub Branches around Queensland, including the service hosted by RSL Queensland at the Shrine of Remembrance in Ann St, Brisbane City.

Find your closest service and bring your family along to mark this significant anniversary.

 

Travellers can get cheaper deals on hotels: ACCC

Online travel booking websites may save you a lot of money, but there’s a way to save even more on accommodation and it involves ‘older’ technology.

Travellers using accommodation aggregators such as Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline.com and Expedia can get cheaper deals on rooms simply by making a phone call, says Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims.

“There’s a very good chance you’ll get a much better price than you are seeing online,” Mr Sims told Guardian Australia. “A very good chance.”

READ MORE

Retreat for Veterans Gets DVA Funding Boost

A former soldier , Roger Dwyer, who assists returned service personnel in recovering from post traumatic stress disorder will be able to make major improvements to his Camp Gregory Veterans Retreat because of a $20,000 DVA Community Services grant.

Information Benefit for ADF, DFWA and Ex-service men and women in SE QLD and Northern NSW

Australia Zoo to give something back to Veterans and ADF members as part of Federal MP’s initiative

As we celebrate Veterans Health Week, Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace has announced a collaboration with Australia Zoo which will see current and former ADF personnel  enjoy a free visit to the popular tourist attraction.

Dubbed the Sunshine Coast Veterans Day, Mr Wallace has worked with local veterans groups and with the Zoo to make entry to Australia Zoo free for card holding veterans and current ADF personnel as well as their partners on 11 October 2018.

Mr Wallace said “Our service men and women put their lives on the line to keep Australians safe. We all owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude, and I am determined to do what I can as your Federal Member of Parliament to give something back. We know that getting out and doing something fun with mates who understand your service can make a big difference to the mental health of current and former service men and women. That’s what Sunshine Coast Veterans Day at Australia Zoo is all about.”

Veterans and current personnel will simply have to show their ADF ID, White or Gold Card to get free all day entry to the Zoo. Australia Zoo is one of the country’s best known wildlife attractions, with more than 1,200 animals and a wide variety of exhibits and experiences to enjoy.

Wes Mannion, Director of Australia Zoo said “Australia Zoo has a long history of supporting our veterans and their spouses and we’re looking forward to welcoming our local service men and women and giving them a great day at the biggest and best wildlife conservation facility in the entire world!”

The initiative is part of a series of activities Mr Wallace has pursued on the Sunshine Coast to support local service men and women. These include his Sunshine Coast Veterans Forum, held in August with Senator Jim Molan, and his Fisher Defence Industry Initiative which, among other objectives, aims to generate greater employment opportunities for former service men and women through the development of a local defence industry. Mr Wallace has also advocated in Canberra for additional Commonwealth support for former ADF personnel to undertake tertiary education.

Mr Wallace said “We have 15,000 veterans living here on the Sunshine Coast, and as a community we should do all we can to show them how much we value their contribution. I am very grateful to Australia Zoo for coming on board and demonstrating how committed they are to our local community and to honouring our service men and women. I can’t wait to meet many more of them on the day.”

For more information, contact the Office of Andrew Wallace MP on (07) 5493 5556 or [email protected].

John Lowis
President
Defence Force Welfare Association (QLD Branch)
Victoria Barracks Brisbane

Nutrition Key Theme for Veterans’ Health Week 2018

NUTRITION is the theme of the over 140 events and activities being held during Veterans’ Health Week 2018, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester MP said today.

“Proper nutrition is vital for all of us to lead healthier lives. We know that good nutrition leads to improved health and wellbeing, which plays a major role in helping veterans achieve better lifestyle outcomes. When we eat better, we feel better and we are much healthier and happier,” Mr Chester said.

“Veterans’ Health Week, which starts today, is a fantastic opportunity for the public to support and attend the many different events and activities all over the country to positively engage with veterans and their families to promote the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.

“There are over 140 fun, interactive and educational events scheduled across the country this year such as the Sunshine Coast RSL’s cooking masterclass with celebrity chef Matt Golinski, the Darwin RSL’s tri-service long table cook-off, and the Vietnam Veterans’ Association’s Nutrition Expo in Melbourne.

”Other events include the Salisbury RSL in Adelaide’s veterans two-course cooking competition, the Armadale RSL in Western Australia’s ‘How to eat cheaper but better’ cooking expo, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Sydney office’s ‘Bike N Blend’ pedal-powered healthy smoothie making event.”

In addition, DVA’s National Dietetic Adviser – Assistant Professor Tara Diversi, has created a series of nutritious, healthy, delicious and easy to make recipes to help veterans, their families and everyone else enjoy the benefits of healthy eating–available on DVA’s website and Facebook page.

“I urge everyone to get involved in Veterans’ Health Week events organised by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), Ex-Service organisations and community groups across the country to make the week a success.,” Mr Chester said.

“These events are all about assisting veterans and their families to live happy, healthy and active lives. The Government is committed to the ongoing care of those who have served our country and supporting Veterans’ Health Week is one of the ways we do this.”

Veterans’ Health Week runs from Saturday 22 September to Sunday 30 September 2018.

The full list of Veterans’ Health Week recipes, events and activities can be found on the DVA website: dva.gov.au/veterans-health-week

22 September 2018