Invitation – Inquiry into ADF use of Mefloquine and Tafenoquine

On 19 June 2018 the Senate referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee a range of matters relating to the ADF use of Mefloquine and Tafenoquine for inquiry and report by 17 September 2018. 

The full terms of reference are to inquire with particular reference to:

(a) the current and past policies and practices for:
(i) prescribing Quinoline anti-malarial drugs to ADF personnel, and
(ii) identifying and reporting adverse drug reactions from Quinoline anti-malarial drugs among ADF personnel;

(b) the nature and extent of any adverse health effects of those who have taken Mefloquine/Tafenoquine on serving and former ADF personnel;

(c) the support available for partners, carers and families of personnel who experience any adverse health effects of Quinoline anti-malarial drugs;

(d) a comparison of international evidence/literature available on the impact of Quinoline anti-malarials;

(e) how other governments have responded to claims regarding Quinoline anti-malarials; and

(f) any other related matters.

The purpose of this letter of invitation is to draw your attention to the inquiry and to invite you or your organisation to make a written submission to the committee by 31 July 2018.

READ THE DETAILS

Well-Being: Age/Service Pension update: 1 July 2018 changes

This article from YourLifeChoices reveals the indexation of income and asset thresholds that will apply from 1 July 2018.

For age/service  pensioners, this means that those who have narrowly missed out on a full or part Age/Service Pension due to income earned or assets held, may now qualify for a payment or have their payment increased.

In what could further boost your rate of Age/Service Pension paid, deeming thresholds have also been indexed.

So grab yourself a cuppa and find out if your payment will change.

ALP – Labor announces Senate Inquiry Inquiry into the use of Anti – Malarials in the ADF

Today, Labor has announced that we will move to establish a Senate Inquiry into the use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force.

 

HWA

It is almost two years since the Turnbull Government first acknowledged concerns around the use of the anti-malarial drug, Mefloquine.

However, members of the serving and ex-service community have continued to raise their concerns around the side effects from some anti-malarial drugs which were taken during their service.

It is time for a proper and public examination of the issue and to establish the facts.

In that spirit, Labor has discussed the draft Terms of Reference with the Government to ensure the Senate Inquiry has the opportunity to work through this issue in an open and transparent manner and provide a thorough and comprehensive report about the use of Quinoline anti-malarial drugs in the ADF.

The draft terms of reference for the inquiry are:

The use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force with particular reference to:

A. Current and past policies and practices for prescribing quinolone anti-malarial drugs to ADF personnel

B. Current and past policies and practices for identifying and reporting adverse drug reactions from quinoline anti-malarial drugs among ADF personnel

C. The nature and extent of any adverse health effects of those who have taken Mefloquine/Tafenoquine on serving and former ADF personnel

D. Support available for partners, carers and families of personnel who experience any adverse health effects of quinoline anti-malarial drugs

E. A comparison of international evidence/literature available on the impact of quinoline anti-malarials

F. How other governments have responded to claims regarding quinoline anti-malarials

G. Any other related matters.

Labor understands this is a complex issue and looks forward to the Inquiry providing further transparency on this issue.

It is anticipated the inquiry would hold public hearings to allow all voices to have an opportunity to be heard.

Labor will consult with senators over the coming weeks to establish the inquiry during the next sittings of the Senate in June.

Amanda Rishworth MP & Senator Alex Gallacher
Tuesday 5 June 2018

Queensland Government – Smart Savings Concessions

Find and apply for concessions and rebates that can help ease cost of living pressures for Queenslanders.

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DVA – Submissions Sought to Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans

SUBMISSIONS for the Productivity Commission inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans are being encouraged by Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester.

Mr Chester said this is an important opportunity for veterans, the ex-service community and the broader Australian public to contribute to this independent inquiry and have their say on how services and programs are delivered in the future.
“The inquiry is looking at not only the current system of compensation and rehabilitation for veterans but also how to ensure the system is fit for purpose in the future,” Mr Chester said.
“This is an integral part of the Government’s commitment to putting veterans and their families first by ensuring that the system that supports our veterans is the best it can be.
“I know this is an issue which many veterans, families and people within the broader ex-service community are passionate about, so I encourage them to read the issues paper and make a submission.”

The Productivity Commission has asked for initial written submissions to be lodged by 2 July 2018 with further opportunities for the public to provide feedback on the draft report following its anticipated release in December 2018. The Commission is due to report back to Government in mid-2019.

The Productivity Commission is the Government’s independent research and advisory body on a range of issues affecting the welfare of Australians.
To review the terms of reference, read the issues paper or lodge a submission, visit the Productivity Commission website.

Read the issues paper

National Volunteers Week

From RARA National to all volunteers thank you for your commitment to caring for others in so many ways. To our own RAR Family of volunteers we greatly appreciate your support to our tribe.
Duty First

Volunteering Australia is delighted to announce its new theme and logo for National Volunteer Week (NVW) in 2018. The theme for 2018 is: Give a little. Change a lot.

 

This theme represents the millions of volunteers who make a significant impact in their communities and on society by giving a little of their time. National Volunteer week will be held from 21-27 May 2018.

 

Resources are available for download here. Please check the website for more details over the coming months. We look forward to celebrating Australia’s 6 million volunteers who generously give their time to various causes.

DVA Benefits to Families

Two new measures to benefit veterans and their families commenced on 1 May 2018

Veteran Payment
As part of DVA’s commitment to improving access to services for veterans and their families, the new Veteran Payment is now available to eligible individuals and their partners. This payment provides interim financial support to veterans who cannot work or support themselves while they await liability decisions on claims for mental health conditions under either the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) or the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA).

180504 – IS189 – Veteran Payment Overview

180510 – IS190 – How to access Veteran Payment

Extended Family Support Package

The Family Support Package is designed to extend family support under the MRCA for veterans and their families. There are two distinct groups that will benefit from this initiative: eligible veterans and their families, and eligible spouse or partner of deceased veterans. This initiative will provide guidance and financial support to alleviate pressures when needed the most. The time-limited support available include expanded childcare funding, additional counselling services and eligible widow(er)s will be entitled to home help.

180510- MRC52 – Family Support Package for Veterans and their Families

180510- MRC53 – Family Support Package for Widow(er)s

Chester Media Release – Expanding services for veterans and their families in partnership with Australia Post

A program to improve easy access to general information about mental health services, counselling, rehabilitation, and transition and support services for veterans and their families has been launched in Mount Gambier, South Australia and North Lakes in the Moreton Bay area of Queensland as part pilot the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is conducting with Australia Post.

download 16Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the trial is part of the Turnbull Government’s ongoing commitment to put veterans and their families first.

“This pilot, in partnership with Australia Post, is exploring the opportunity for DVA to further expand its reach to veterans and their families by tapping into the extensive network of Australia Post outlets,” Mr Chester said.

“The pilot provides easy access to general information about mental health services, counselling, rehabilitation, and transition and support services to veterans and their families who may not have had prior contact with DVA.

“This expansion to a further two sites will provide more information about the way this service is accessed by veterans and their families in metropolitan and regional areas and will help us assess the benefits of the service further.”

The pilot supplements DVA’s existing face-to-face service delivery network by leveraging the large Australia-wide footprint of Australia Post, it does not replace any existing DVA program or service.

Information is available via the in-store Australia Post kiosk facilities, as well as the Australia Post concierge service, in-store posters, brochures and videos.

A feedback form is available via the in-store iMac in which DVA is seeking ongoing user feedback to continue improving the service. The pilot will be evaluated before its conclusion at the end of June 2018.

18th April 2018

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Drone Ambulance

Technology application to save lives

DVA Minister – Putting Veterans and their Families First – New Study to Improve Advocacy Services

A MAJOR study to improve advocacy services for veterans and their families has commenced under the leadership of the former Chair of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, Mr Robert Cornall AO.

download 16Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the study was part of the Turnbull Government’s ongoing commitment to put veterans and their families first and delivers on a significant part of the Government’s response to the concerns raised in the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference’s committee report: The Constant Battle: Suicide by Veterans.

“Veterans and their families deserve to have easy access to the best services available to them and this study has been established to ensure that happens,” Mr Chester said.

“This study will go a long way to helping our younger veterans and their families navigate the compensation claims and appeals processes and it will address a number of improvements to the current advocacy model which were recommended in the report.

“Mr Cornall has an excellent track record in working with the Defence and legal communities, and I’m confident he’ll bring all his experience to bear on finding new ways to ensure those who’ve served our nation get the best possible advocacy.”

Mr Cornall will talk to younger veterans, female veterans, veterans’ families, ex-service organisations, and the broader Defence community in coming months.

The latest research will be reviewed, veterans’ advocacy services in other countries will be examined, and advocacy models in other areas, such as the legal services, community, and disability sectors will be looked at.

“I hope many individuals and organisations will contribute their experiences and ideas to the study,” Mr Chester said.

Separate to this study, Mr Chester said the recent passage of new veterans’ legislation will also have a big impact on improving the health and wellbeing of those who have served their country.

For more information about the advocacy study, visit  here  or send an email to [email protected].

16 April 2018

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.