Home' Vetaffairs : Winter 2015 Contents 2 — Vetaffairs Winter 2015
Vetaffairs is published by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as a
free newspaper for Australia’s veteran community.
Editor Amanda Dickerson
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mail GPO Box 9998 Canberra, ACT 2601
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impairment from $243,329 to $350,000. Should
the bill be passed, this will apply to new injuries
sustained after the bill is passed.
Multiple conditions that arise from one event
may now be combined and treated as a single
injury to meet the threshold for permanent
impairment lump sum compensation. This
measure means more DVA clients will receive
Department of Social Services
An increase in the assets test threshold means
that you will be able to hold more assets before
your payments are affected. Associated with
this is an increase to the assets test taper rate,
which is the proportion by which your pension
is reduced for each $1000 of assets above the
threshold. These changes affect income sup-
port payments, e.g. service pension, income
support supplement, age pension.
A cap on the proportion of income from a
defined benefit superannuation fund that can
be excluded from the income test means if
you receive the age pension, your income may
be assessed as higher and this will have an
impact on your pension. Military superannu-
ation schemes (DFRB, DFRDB and MSBS) are
excluded from this test, and DVA pensioners
(service pension and income support supple-
ment recipients) will not be affected.
An expansion of restorative care places will help
older people to regain their independence and
function after a setback, such as an illness or
a fall, and assist them to remain living in their
own home, rather than entering aged care.
If you enter residential aged care from 1 January
2016, rent for your former principal residence
will now count towards the aged care means
test. This does not affect existing residents. The
current protections against excessive fees will
From February 2017, funding for home care
packages will be attached to an individual con-
sumer, rather than the current arrangement of
allocating places to aged care service providers.
This does not have an impact on the Veterans’
Home Care package.
Department of Health
The pharmaceutical safety net will increase by
two prescriptions per year from 1 January 2016
and the pharmaceutical co-payment will con-
tinue to be indexed annually. Veterans eligible
under the Veterans’ Pharmaceutical Reimburse-
ment Scheme will have the additional costs
The changes to rebates available on certain
GP consultations that were announced in the
2014–15 Budget will not proceed.
The Personally Controlled Electronic Health
Record will now be known as My Health Record.
Trials of an ‘opt-out’ rather than the current
‘opt-in’ system will be undertaken in two
regions in 2016.
A number of new Medicare Benefits Schedule
and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
items have been added, or had their listings
Funding responsibility has been transferred
from DVA to Health for the training of junior
medical officers in two former Repatriation Hos-
pitals. This will not affect services to veterans.
More information on the Federal Budget 2015-16 is
available at www.budget.gov.au
The 25th of April 2015 was a very important moment in our nation’s
history. It not only marked 100 years since the ANZAC landings at
Gallipoli; events held on that day also commemorated 100 years of
Australia’s involvement in conflicts around the world.
Hundreds of thousands of Australians commemorated our service-
men and women at services in Australia and overseas. I attended the
services at Gallipoli and found them extremely moving. Services at
Villers-Bretonneux, Hellfire Pass, Isurava, Port Moresby and Sandakan
were very well-attended, as were services across Australia’s capital cit-
ies and smaller communities.
The attendance at Anzac Day services is testament to the respect the
Australian people have for those who have served and those who are
currently serving. I am very proud of the role DVA played in planning
and delivering these important commemorative events.
The Centenary of Anzac doesn’t begin or end with Anzac Day 2015.
Indeed, the Anzac Centenary began in August 2014, and the Albany
Commemorative event in November 2014 was the beginning of four
years of commemorative events all around the world to remember the
sacrifice that the men and women of the ADF have made in in all con-
flicts since 1914. The Anzac Centenary programme will conclude with
the 100th anniversary of the Armistice on 11 November 2018.
In early May eight veterans, now all aged in their 90s, travelled back
to Europe to represent Australia at ceremonies in France and Britain
commemorating the 70th anniversary of allied victory in Europe in the
Second World War.
They joined thousands of other allied veterans to remember this
significant event. For many of these veterans, it was the first time that
they had returned to Europe and to the places where they fought all
those years ago.
We also recently remembered the 74th anniversary of the Siege of
Tobruk, in which Australia played a pivotal role. The Rats of Tobruk
were commended by British command for their tenacity and never
say die attitude.
While commemorations are an important part of DVA’s work, they
are only a small part of the broad range of DVA’s activities. Of the 2015–
16 DVA budget of $12.1 billion, $6.5 billion will be spent on income
support and compensation, $5.5 billion on health and $88.7 million
on commemorations. The Federal Budget for 2015–16 was recently
handed down and, while other articles in Vetaffairs explain the new
measures relating to veterans in more detail, I want to highlight the
government decision to increase the number of case coordinators,
which will improve DVA’s ability to effectively support veterans with
complex needs and facilitate better access to services and support.
I encourage you to read the Budget articles in this paper for a more
... CONTINUED FROM FRONT PAGE
Dr Ian Gardner has been
appointed as the incom-
ing Principal Medical
Adviser for the Depart-
ment of Veterans’
Dr Gardner has exten-
sive experience in the
health field across the public and private sec-
tors. For the past 14 years, Dr Gardner has
worked in the Department of Defence and
most recently has been the Senior Physician
in Occupational and Environmental Medicine
at the Defence Centre for Occupational Health
and Safety in Canberra. In his previous roles,
Dr Gardner worked for 13 years with IBM Asia
Pacific as director of health, safety and environ-
ment as well as previous significant roles with
ICI Australia and Alcoa of Australia.
Dr Gardner has a strong understanding of the
national health environment and has twice
been elected President of the Australasian
Faculty of Occupational and Environmental
Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of
Dr Gardner’s experience is as an Occupational,
Environmental and Public Health specialist
with degrees in Medicine and Surgery and a
Masters in Public Health, and his understand-
ing of the Defence and veterans’ environment
ensure that he is well placed to take on the Prin-
cipal Medical Adviser role.
Due to space constraints,
we have been unable to
publish letters to the editor
in this edition of Vetaffairs.
They will return in the
Ms Leanne Cameron com-
menced as the new Deputy
Commissioner, South Aus-
tralia, on 30 June. Ms Cameron
has been with DVA since 2001
in a number of client con-
tact and health related roles,
including Deputy Commis-
sioner, Northern Territory,
since August 2013. She brings significant experience in
stakeholder engagement and a passion for delivering
quality to her new role in South Australia.
has been reap-
pointed as the
for a further
two years. This
GEN Kelly will continue in the role
until 30 June 2017.
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