Home' Vetaffairs : Vetaffairs Summer 2016 Contents 13 — Vetaffairs Summer 2016
off the year
The Ex-Service Organisation Round
Table (ESORT) had its final meeting
for 2016 on 10 November.
It has been a productive year
for the ESORT, and on the eve of
Remembrance Day it was fitting
that members departed the meet-
ing with a renewed commitment
to work together to continue to
commemorate the service and
sacrifice of Australia’s ex-service
A key topic of the meeting was an
overview of the National Ex-Service
Organisation (ESO) National Lead-
ers Strategy Meeting of 31 October
2016. ESORT members, and other
prominent figures in the ex-service
community, met on this day to
discuss how all ESOs could col-
laborate more effectively in the
future. The ESORT was advised that
a ‘Compact’ would be drafted from
the outcomes of this meeting, and
circulated to the membership for
The Safety, Rehabilitation and
Compensation Legislation Amend-
ment (Defence Force) Bill 2016
(DRCA Bill) was discussed with
members. The Bill has been tabled
in Parliament and will be debated
in the Autumn 2017 sitting. If
passed it will come into effect on
1 July 2017.
The ESORT was advised that
should the new Act be passed by
Parliament, eligibility and ben-
efits would be the same as those
currently available to serving and
former Australian Defence Force
members under the existing Safety,
Rehabilitation and Compensation Act
1988 (SRCA). This means there will
be no change to existing entitle-
ments or access to benefits.
The Department’s work on its
‘Transformation’ agenda was
another key item of discussion
during the meeting. Members
were updated on transformation
initiatives, particularly work on
improving the ‘client journey’.
Members also received updates
on the expansion of powers for the
Veterans’ Review Board, and DVA’s
private hospital and transport
The ESORT welcomed the new
National Chairman of the Austral-
ian Special Air Service Association,
Mr Peter Fitzpatrick AM JP, to his
Members also farewelled Mr Rus-
sell Pettis FAIM and thanked him
for his six years of exemplary service
representing the Naval Association
Are you prepared for
It’s worth remembering that serious bushfires can occur in
suburban communities as well as regional and rural ones.
While the safety of yourself and your loved ones should
be your first priority, the more you prepare your property the
better the chance it will survive a bushfire, even if you are not
there. The majority of houses can survive most bushfires with
planning and effort.
And a well-prepared home will give you more protection if a
fire threatens suddenly and you cannot leave.
Bushfire survival plan
It’s well worth preparing a bushfire survival plan that
details preparations and the actions you will take if a bushfire
If you plan to leave for a safer place, consider well ahead of
time where you will go and how you will get there. Your safer
place could be with friends and family, and may not be far
away. Know where you will go and never just ‘wait and see’.
Relocating at the last minute can be deadly.
Decide ahead of time what you will do with your pets – i.e.
will you take them or leave them?
Prepare a safe storage box to place important documents,
photos, valuables and medication, which you can access in
Clear away timber, dead vegetation, undergrowth and long
grass from your property.
Have leaves and rubbish removed from your gutters.
For more information and tips, contact your local fire service.
Defence Service Homes Insurance (DSHI) suggests you
review your insurance to make sure it is current and covers all
your assets. Also check you are not underinsured – many peo-
ple only discover this after their house has burned down. For
buildings or other improvements on the property may
not be covered by the policy. These include sheds, stables,
garages, solar panels and fences
contents are not insured at all
the cost of repairing or rebuilding a home is a lot higher
than expected as new building codes can drastically
increase rebuilding costs. For instance, they may require
triple glazing of windows or fire resistant building materials
If you are insured with Defence Service Homes Insurance,
visit www.dsh.gov.au to review your policy or call DSHI on
1300 552 662.
Update on the Sir John Monash Centre
In the Winter 2016 issue of Vetaf-
fairs, we wrote about the ground
survey and clearance work
performed at the Australian
National Memorial near Villers-
Bretonneux in France ahead of
the construction of the Sir John
This work has also allowed a
feature of Sir Edwin Lutyens’s
original design for the Memo-
rial – terrace paths joining its
tower and pavilions – to finally
be realised. The original deci-
sion not to build the paths was
a cost-saving measure as the
Memorial was built during the
Great Depression in the 1930s.
Once complete, these paths will
enhance the experience of a visit
to the Memorial and help guide
visitors towards the pavilions
and then down ramps to the Sir
John Monash Centre.
Once inside the Centre, visi-
tors will experience an evocative
and educational experience,
telling of Australia’s service on
the Western Front in France and
Belgium during the First World
War. This experience, designed
by Convergence Associates, will
be brought to life by Australian
multimedia production com-
pany WildBear Entertainment. It
will use film footage and photo-
graphs, animations, maps, music
and immersive soundscapes.
The Centre is due to open
around Anzac Day 2018.
To follow the development of
the Centre, visit www.dva.gov.
Case study: A happy DSHI customer
DVA’s Deputy Commissioner in WA, Peter King, recently had
the great pleasure of presenting veteran Rodney Kennedy with
the keys to a brand new home.
Yarloop, a small country town south of Perth, was struck by
a catastrophic bushfire on 8 January 2016 that destroyed more
than 150 buildings and houses. Rodney’s home was one of
Fortunately, Rodney was insured with DSHI and was able to
have his home rebuilt.
Rodney was the first Yarloop resident to have his home
rebuilt, allowing him to get on with his life.
‘DSHI used the right trades to rebuild my house in around
three months,’ Rodney said. ‘Everybody involved in my claim
was great, including the builder who was fantastic! Everything
went much better than I had expected.
‘After my claim, I know a lot more now about insurance. I
wish I had taken more time on my insurance to get the house
and contents fully insured.’
Some additional rebuild costs often not considered include
complying with updated building codes. In Rodney’s case,
updated building codes required that the slab be moved, his
house have additional bushfire protection, and the septic
tanks be replaced and upgraded.
‘Nobody likes paying for insurance, but getting your poli-
cies in order, and your sum insured correct are critical. A few
premium dollars saved is nothing when you are faced with a
major loss like I suffered losing everything: my home, my con-
tents, a small boat and my animals,’ Rodney said.
Rodney with DVA’s WA Deputy Commissioner Peter King outside
Rodney’s new house.
An aerial photo of the Australian National Memorial near Villers-
Bretonneux, showing progress on the Sir John Monash Centre (lower left),
and on Lutyens’s unbuilt paths (centre).
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