DVA Information: Bushfire Crisis – Update

Dear ESORT members,

Given the ongoing nature of the bushfires and the impact on many regions, DVA is providing a further update for ESOs.

We recognise that the recent bushfires have had a devastating impact on local communities, but it is important that the ongoing support to veterans’ organisations and the community continues.

A new grant round of the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) program has opened for applications today and closes at 11:00 pm (AEDT) on 17 February 2020.

If your organisation has been impacted by these bushfires, and you think it may affect you in lodging your application for a BEST grant, please contact the Community Grants Hub as soon as possible on 1800 020 283 or [email protected] for help with your application.

The priority for many authorities and communities is of course the ongoing fire-fighting, containment and recovery operations, and a reminder from my email last week that DVA will continue to provide services and assistance to members of the veteran and defence communities.

Health and Financial support

If you or members of your organisation need further support from DVA during this difficult time, please visit the DVA website (dva.gov.au) for information on the disaster assistance services offered. The Open Arms counselling service is also available 24/7 to veterans and their families (contact 1800 011 046).

DVA services and support

Veterans and their families can access DVA’s Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) for assistance on 1800 555 254 for a wide range of issues, including replacement of aids and appliances, ensuring availability of pharmaceuticals, and arranging transportation to medical appointments.

If any other services or support you receive from the Department are impacted by the fires, or if you need extra support in requesting these services, you can call 1800 555 254 for assistance.

Veterans’ Home Care

Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) program clients affected by fires should contact their service providers or assessment agency to re-establish disrupted services.  Eligible, affected veterans who need new services or services in a new location should contact their assessment agency.  VHC Assessment Agencies may be contacted on 1300 550 450.

Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme (DSHI)

With ongoing bushfires across the country DSHI is committed to assisting our policyholders. In an emergency dial 000. Always follow the advice and direction of emergency services. If you need to make a claim due to bushfire damage, please contact us as soon as you’re safe and able to do so. Our team will be able to help you manage your claim. Your safety is of the utmost importance to us, if you are impacted please contact us on 1300 552 662.

National Bushfire Recovery Agency

The Prime Minister has announced the establishment a new agency with an initial $2 billion for a national bushfire recovery fund to coordinate a national response to rebuild communities and livelihoods after the devastating fire-front has passed. More information can be found at: www.pm.gov.au/media/national-bushfire-recovery-agency

Mark Cormack

Acting Secretary

7 January 2020

PVA: Bushfire Disaster Recovery Advice

The following is provided by President Louise Freebairn the Partners of Veterans Association of Australia NSW Branch Inc. to assist those who have suffered due to the bushfires. The list of phone numbers covers NSW areas.

PVA ‘s own support line on 1300 553 835 for its members and those in the veteran community.

Disaster Recovery Payment

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment has been activated for people severely affected by the NSW Bush Fires. This provides a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child if your home has been destroyed or severely damaged – including smoke damage.

Call 180 2266 to apply.

New South Wales Fires

November/ December 2019

People are encouraged to register online at Register Find Reunite.

The Disaster Welfare Assistance Line is currently open every day.

Disaster Welfare – they have grants available but they are a one off payment towards damage to your house/principal place of residence only.

1800 018 444—-8:30am – 4:30pm

Evacuation Centres OPEN 1 January 2020

Eurobodalla LGA

Hanging Rock Sports Club Function Centre, Hanging Rock Place, Batemans Bay NSW 2536 – open 8am to 8pm, until further notice

Moruya Basketball Stadium (within Moruya Showground), Albert Street, Moruya NSW 2537 – open from 8am on 31 December 2019, until further notice

Narooma Leisure Centre, 100 Bluewater Drive, Narooma NSW 2546 – open from 8am on 31 December 2019, until further notice

Bega Valley Shire LGA

Bega Showground, High Street, Bega NSW 2550 – open until further notice

Eden Fisherman’s Club – 217 Imlay Street Eden NSW 2551 -open until further notice 

Bermagui Surf Club – 1 Lamont Street, Bermagui NSW 2546 – open until further notice

Snowy Valleys LGA

Tumbarumba RSL Memorial Hall, Whitton Street, Tumbarumba NSW 2653 – open until further notice

Adelong Services and Citizens Club, 54 Tumut Street, Adelong NSW 2729 – open until further notice

City of Shoalhaven LGA

Ulladulla Civic Centre – 81B Princes Highway, Ulladulla NSW 2539 – open until further notice

Bomaderry Bowling Club – 154 Meroo Street, Bomaderry  NSW 2541 – open until further notice

St Georges Basin Country Club – 11 Paradise Beach Road, Sanctuary Point NSW  2540 – open until further notice

Goulburn – Mulwaree LGA

Goulburn Recreation Area – Veolia Arena, 45 Braidwood Road, Goulburn –  open from 8am to 8pm

Snowy Monaro LGA

Bomballa Community Centre – 163 Maybe Street, Bombala 2632 – open until further notice

Cooma Multi-Function Centre, corner of Cromwell Street and Boundary Street, Cooma NSW 2630 (near the Showground) – open until further notice

Lake Macquarie LGA

Avondale University, Central Road, Cooranbong – open until further notice

Disaster Welfare Assistance Points

Lithgow LGA -Lithgow (in conjunction with council recovery centre)- Lithgow Workies Club 3-7 Tank street, Lithgow. Open 2-3 January 2020, 9am to 5pm

The Disaster Welfare Assistance Points in Kempsey, Taree and Grafton have been transitioned to council on the 20 December.

Services and information will continue to be available through council.

Over the holiday period, assistance is still available via:

Housing: 1800 422 322 (24/7)

Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511

Animal and Agriculture Hotline: 1800 814 647

Disaster Welfare Assistance Line: 1800 018 444

Small Business Grants–Grants of up to $15,000 are available if your business has been directly affected by bush fire.Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance/disaster-recovery-grants for eligibility criteria.

Primary Producer Grants -Grants of up to $15,000 are available for bush fire affected primary producers. Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance/disaster-recovery-grants for eligibility criteria.

Local Government Areas this applies to: Armidale Regional, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Mid-Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Tweed and Walcha.

Clean-up Assistance

If your property is insured, please contact your insurer about clean-up.

If you are uninsured and your home has been damaged or destroyed, Public Works Advisory will arrange for the clean-up of your residence and immediately adjacent outbuildings, including the removal of concrete slabs.

If you are uninsured, please contact Public Works Advisory on 1800 88 55 39 to discuss the clean-up of your property.

The Insurance Council of Australia can be contacted with any questions, complaints or concerns about insurance on 1800 734 621.

Safety –General advice

Please avoid areas where bushfires are occurring. Stay off the road; don’t travel unless you need to. Report unattended fires or suspicious activity immediately to Triple Zero (000) and follow the advice of authorities. Residents need to read all warnings in full to ensure they stay up-to-date with the latest information – this includes evacuation routes and evacuation centres. Areas closed off due to the bushfire emergency will reopen when it is safe to do so.

Bushfires can topple trees and power lines and leave debris strewn across the landscape, posing a significant health and safety risk. People returning home need to be mindful of hazards even after a bushfire has been extinguished.

Mental health

It’s completely normal to experience a range of emotions after a fire, including anxiety, forgetfulness, sleep disturbance and more. Having someone to listen to and support you through this is very important. Check in on your friends and neighbours, and if you or someone you know needs help, reach out.The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511; Lifeline – 13 11 14 ; Mensline – 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800; Beyondblue – 1300 22 4636

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000.

Free face-to-face support The following free services are available to people impacted by fires and drought. 

Hunter / New England – Healthwise 1800 931 540 

North Coast – Connect to Wellbeing 1300 160 339

Insurance

Are you insured? If you are insured talk to your insurance company as soon as possible about how to make a claim.

Take photos or video of damage to your property and possessions as evidence for your claim.

If you have clearance from your insurer and evidence for your claim, you can start cleaning up.The Insurance Council of Australia can be contacted with any questions, complaints or concerns about insurance on 1800 734 621.

Uninsured? If you are not insured and have limited income, you may be eligible for a disaster relief grant. Contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

Replacing personal documents

Service NSW can help replace many of your personal documents free of charge if they were damaged or destroyed. This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, licences and number plates. For assistance please visit your nearest NSW Service centre, or call 13 77 88

Housing Assistance

In NSW, social housing providers can provide support and assistance to people who are affected as a direct result of natural disasters such as fires, floods and severe storms.

What types of service are available?

Social housing providers in NSW can assist affected people with access to products such as:

Temporary Accommodation – time limited accommodation for clients who are experiencing immediate homelessness

Emergency Temporary Accommodation – short-term temporary housing for up to 3 months for clients in urgent need of housing because of natural disaster [who would not normally be eligible for social housing]

Rentstart Bond loan – an interest-free loan to assist eligible clients pay a rental bond for a tenancy

Housing Assistance – a range of housing assistance products and services [including the above] that a person may be eligible for.

Where to go for help during business hours

During regular business hours 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, visit any social housing provider.

A list of social housing providers can be found at ww.facs.nsw.gov.au/about/contact/housing

Where to get help after hours

The Department of Communities and Justice Housing Contact Centre (HCC) operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The HCC can assist people with

• Temporary accommodation

• General housing enquiries

• Applications for housing assistance

Important numbers

Link2Home – 1800 152 152—For temporary accommodation – this information and referral service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

DCJ Housing Contact Centre 1800 422 322–Available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Animal Welfare

Local Land Services is assisting with emergency fodder, stock water and assessment of animals impacted by the fire.

The Animal & Welfare hotline (1800 814 647) will supply fodder and water for fire affected livestock.  They also can link you direct to other services.  Anyone can phone on the affected family’s behalf though you need to be able to provide a reliable contact number that they can call the person on. Landholders are encouraged to call the Agriculture and Animal Hotline to request assistance or report any stock losses.

Animal & Agriculture Hotline: 1800 814 647

Starting your clean-up

Houses, sheds and other buildings that have been burnt in a bush fire can leave potential health and safety hazards in the remaining rubble and ash.

Hazardous household materials that may be present after a bush fire include asbestos, ash from burnt treated timbers (i.e. copper chrome arsenate or CCA), medicines, garden or farm chemicals, other household chemicals and cleaning products, damaged gas bottles, metal and other residues from burnt household appliances as well as ash and dusts.

Other hazards may include unsafe building structures, electrical hazards or missing fencing panels around pools. When returning to your property after a bushfire, consider the following precautions to protect your health:

Please do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so.

Electrical hazards could exist such as live power lines that may be down or active solar panels.

Buildings and other structures may be unstable to enter or walk over.

Sewerage services may be disrupted causing health risks.

Be aware that hot, smouldering coals and other potentially hazardous materials may be hidden under the rubble.

Building rubble should not be buried as it may contain hazardous materials.

Don’t spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or CCA-treated timber was burnt.

Moisten the ash with water to minimise dust and keep damp but do not use high pressure water sprays.

Wear a P2 face mask and protective clothing.

Disaster Assistance- Bushfire Crisis

The impact of the bushfires is being felt across the nation, including by members of the veteran and defence communities. Health and safety is the priority during this time, and we encourage you to listen to the experts on how to be prepared.

The ABC, as the national broadcaster, provides up-to-date information on all alerts and warnings

Further information is also available on each of the state government websites.

Members of the veteran and defence communities can also access:

  • The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment – one-off financial assistance to eligible Australians adversely affected by the bushfires. For more information on eligibility, and how to claim, visit the Department of Human Services website or call 180 22 66.
  • Defence Service Homes Insurance – providing a range of home, contents, and other insurance. To lodge a claim or for assistance please contact 1300 552 662 or visit the Defence Service Homes Insurance website.
  • Open Arms counselling support (24/7) – veterans and their families requiring emergency counselling support can call 1800 011 046.
  • Crisis payments – a one-off payment to financially assist eligible people following a range of defined circumstances. For information about the crisis payments and eligibility please read Factsheet IS121 – Crisis Payments
  • Other assistance – DVA’s Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) can be contacted on 1800 555 254 to assist with a wide range of issues, including replacement of aids and appliances, ensuring availability of pharmaceuticals, and arranging transportation to medical appointments. 

If any other services or support you receive from the Department are being impacted by the fires, or if you need extra support in requesting these services, you can call 1800 555 254 for assistance.

ADF continues Bush Fire support

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been working with Emergency Management Australia to assist with firefighting efforts in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia since November 8.

Rural Fire Service employee, Mr Allen Madden prepares to be winched down in the Lithgow area by Petty Officer Aircrewman Jason Wickman from an 808 Squadron MRH90 Taipan Military Support Helicopter over the Grose Valley bushfire in the Blue Mountains National Park.

Defence established liaison officers in the State Disaster Coordination Centres (SDCC) in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

READ THE FULL EXTENT OF SUPPORT

Members of 5th Engineer Regiment assist the New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service with hazard reduction and resupply near Richmond, NSW.

Career Opportunity – in Tasmania

Commencing in March 2020, Point Assist, (an Australian Veteran Owned Business) in conjunction with the Tasmanian State Government, will be launching the Veteran’s Active Recreation Program.

Providing unique outdoor experiences and career transition pathways into the Tasmanian adventure and eco-tourism industry, this foundation program supports Australian veterans and ex-service personnel.

If you are an Australian Military Veteran interested in moving into your next career with the same purpose and passion you demonstrated while serving your country, the adventure travel industry may be for you.

Register your interest via email to [email protected] Applications open January 13, 2020.

Group programs for the veteran community

Open Arms group treatment programs focus on addressing mental health problems commonly experienced within the veteran community. These programs include:

  • Doing Anger Differently
  • Recovery from Trauma
  • Understanding Anxiety
  • Managing Pain
  • Sleeping Better
  • Beating the Blues.

Our educational workshops focus on suicide prevention or on skill-building to promote resilience. The suicide prevention workshops are for people wanting to learn how to recognise that someone is struggling and how to help them to get support. These workshops include

  • Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
  • Suicide Alertness for Everybody (safeTALK)
  • Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
  • ASIST Tune-Up.

The resilience and skill-building workshops are particularly useful for veterans and families during transition periods in their lives and include ‘Stepping Out’, parenting, stress management and mindfulness workshops, as well as half-day information sessions on chronic pain, anger, managing anxiety and recovering from trauma.

The Open Arms group program and workshop calendar is planned six months in advance and the most recent version can be found at www.openarms.gov.au/get-support. If there is enough interest in a specific area additional workshops can be organised.

If you want to talk to a counsellor, or find out more about our services, Open Arms’s free and confidential telephone line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 011 046.

DVA services during the holiday season

DVA will continue providing support to veterans and their families during the holiday season. However, please be aware that some services will be impacted from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day inclusive.
The News and Updates page on the DVA website provides details about services available during the holidays, including information on counselling, mental health, transport bookings for medical treatment, Defence Service Homes Insurance, hospital admissions, pharmaceutical approvals, and pension and incapacity payments. VAN offices, General Enquiries and Open Arms centres.


Open Arms community and peer program expands nationally

SUPPORT for veterans and their families who may be struggling with mental health conditions or at risk of suicide, will be enhanced through the Community and Peer Program which is currently being rolled out across Australia.

VA121 open arms peer advisor group

The program, run by Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (Open Arms), connects veterans and family members who may be struggling with their mental health, with peers who bring a lived experience of mental health issues and, importantly, of recovery.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester joined existing and newly recruited members of the Open Arms Community and Peer Program in Canberra as part of their week-long induction training.

“The pilot program held in Townsville, had positive results with Open Arms peers breaking down barriers to care, improving relationships with key community groups, and reducing the stigma for veterans around mental health and seeking help,” Mr Chester said.

“Since the First World War, veterans and their families have understood the importance and value of mateship that is instilled during service, placing them in a unique position to support one another. This program harnesses that mateship and ensures veterans can talk to other veterans, and families to other military families, to assist each other with the support of mental health clinicians.

“This is another important part of the support system—improving the holistic mental health and wellbeing outcomes for veterans and their families. The national roll-out is a significant step forward in improving the lives of veterans and their families.”

Twenty-nine peers, in addition to the six peers from the Townsville pilot, are being trained as Mental Health Peer Workers and will be employed at 14 Open Arms locations nationally. Also in attendance for the induction training were representatives from key veteran-run organisations with a passion for supporting veterans’ mental health, including Swiss8, Red Six and Survive to Thrive Nation.

download 2019 12 06T220619.331

“You train them to go to war, we train them to come home” – Founder/CEO Dane Christison

Adrian Sutter from Swiss8 said, “The biggest take-out for me from the workshop is they get it. Open Arms seem to understand the current veteran space. They get what is needed to break the barriers with veterans at the moment, and get people coming forward firstly and then getting them the help that they need, if they need it, or just provide someone to talk to. That they understand the space is the biggest thing I’m taking away.”

The Community and Peer Program will provide Open Arms with a skilled workforce of veterans from across all three Australian Defence Force services and family representatives, to augment clinical capability across Australia by mid-2020.

Open Arms (formerly VVCS) is Australia’s leading provider of high quality mental health, counselling and support services for Australian veterans and their families, as well as some reservists and peacekeepers. To find out more about the services offered, call 1800 011 046 or visit Open Arms.

1 December 2019

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au

Remembrance Day 2019

On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. With their armies retreating and close to collapse, German leaders signed an Armistice, bringing to an end the First World War. From the summer of 1918, the five divisions of the Australian Corps had been at the forefront of the allied advance to victory. Beginning with their stunning success at the battle of Hamel in July, they helped to turn the tide of the war at Amiens in August, followed by the capture of Mont St Quentin and Pèronne, and the breaching of German defences at the Hindenburg Line in September. By early October the exhausted Australians were withdrawn from battle. They had achieved a fighting reputation out of proportion to their numbers, but victory had come at a heavy cost. They suffered almost 48,000 casualties during 1918, including more than 12,000 dead.

In the four years of the war more than 330,000 Australians had served overseas, and more than 60,000 of them had died. The social effects of these losses cast a long shadow over the postwar decades.

Each year on this day Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11 am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

An unidentified cinematographer capturing the last shots to be fired before the armistice on 11 November 1918.

Places of Pride, the National Register of War Memorials, is an Australian War Memorial initiative to record the location and photos of every war memorial across the country. Find out more

Travel – Rome , the Colosseum and Gladiator Training

If you have been to Rome then the odds are that you have visited the Colosseum and been fascinated by its size, history and usage especially the gladiatorial contests.

No doubt you have seen the movie Gladiator and been inspired by it.

So when you visit Rome and the Colosseum take the next step and attend the Gladiator Training School and Museum.