Outcomes of the Female Veterans and Families Forum 5 - 6 December 2016

From: DVA

Subject: Outcomes of the Female Veterans and Families Forum 5-6 December 2016 [DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]

Date: 21 April 2017 

Dear Participants and Supporters

It seems like quite a while ago now that I met you, or your representatives in Canberra for our first ever Female Veterans and Families Forum (FVFF). Thank you again for participating in this very successful inaugural event. It was a pleasure to meet you all and listen and learn from your experiences. Liz Cosson and Kate Pope also wanted you to know how much they gained from the two days.

It certainly opened my eyes to some of the issues female veterans and their families face and how we, as a Department, can improve our legislation, policies and processes to improve our understanding of the impact of our decisions on you. I have attached a link below for you to view the report compiled from our two days together.

https://www.dva.gov.au/consultation-and-grants/consultation-female-veterans-and-families 

As you are aware, the Coalition released its Policy to Support Veterans and Their Families in June 2016. The Policy included a commitment to establish a Female Veterans Policy Forum to “provide a platform to help identify policy gaps and support initiatives to better support Australia’s growing female veteran community”.

Our inaugural meeting brought together individuals and representatives from a wide range of organisations representing female veterans and the needs of families. Having the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Dan Tehan MP attend highlighted how important the group is to DVA becoming more client centric. 

What’s next? 

  1. We agreed to share the report outlining the outcomes from our two-day event. The link above will take you to the report which has been made available on the Internet to the general public.
  2. The structure of the forum has been discussed and the proposal moving forward is to have the forums structured as follows:
  • Two one-day forums, running consecutively every year – the first day dedicated to female veterans’ issues and the second day dedicated to veterans’ families. The next forum has been booked to be held on 10 and 11 October 2017.
  • A smaller one-day meeting held twice a year with representatives from the forum – These meetings will work through the key issues raised in the larger female veterans group. Participation on this smaller group will be discussed at the October forum.
  1. Following on from the workshop in December, the Minister committed to supporting the Book: Do You Still Love Me? Because I Really Love You! and issued the following press release http://minister.dva.gov.au/media_releases/2017/mar/va037.htm. We are also looking at what else we can do to support work like this.
  2. The FVFF report has been distributed and promoted widely within DVA to assist in referencing and using the feedback provided, to guide decision making around policies affecting female veterans and families. 
  3. Options for online networking of this group are being investigated and we will be in touch with you shortly on this proposal.
  4. Areas of future focus have been taken on board by business areas in DVA and will be discussed further in the planned October workshop. Some of these will then be progressed and worked through in the smaller meetings.

Again, I commend you all, and your representatives for the insight and commitment shown to this forum and using it to influence positive reform for female veterans and families. I look forward to continuing to work with you and will send an invitation to the next forum closer to the date.

Kind regards,

Karen Peel

Director

Defence Engagement Section

VCR Transformation Implementation Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs


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