Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State
Services to Veterans in the Geelong area are set to be revamped following a review of existing arrangements and extensive consultation with the community, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson said today.
Earlier this year, with the lease due to expire at the stand-alone Veterans Access Network (VAN) office and in the face of declining visits to the VAN, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs undertook a review and a period of consultation relating to the delivery of in-person services in Geelong.
Senator Ronaldson said he was pleased the views of the Veteran community and the broader Geelong community had been recognised through the review process with in-person services to continue with dedicated DVA facilities to be co-located at the Geelong DHS building.
“Some veterans expressed a desire to continue to source information and services in person,” Senator Ronaldson said.
“I can confirm that existing access arrangements will be maintained with in-person services to continue to operate for three days per week.
“In addition, in response to the feedback received from the veteran community, services will continue to be delivered by dedicated DVA staff, from a dedicated DVA area within the Geelong DHS building.
“This will include a dedicated waiting area for DVA clients and access to a stand-alone dedicated DVA computer and private meeting areas for veterans to discuss their issues with DVA staff in a confidential setting,” Senator Ronaldson said.
Federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson said it was pleasing that a high level of personalised service for veterans in the Geelong region would continue.
“When these changes were first proposed, I made strong representations to the Minister for Veterans Affairs that the identity of the local office – as being solely for veterans rather than being absorbed into a larger body – needed to be maintained,” Ms Henderson said.
“We understand that veterans’ issues require discretion and personal attention, and I am very pleased that the Minister has consulted widely.
“Many veterans prefer to access information and services in person, and importantly, the facilities are walking distance from parking and public transport.
“This will ensure that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs continues to provide the best quality services to veterans and their families,” Ms Henderson said.
In addition, an extended outreach service will see DVA services delivered to those living in the broader region.
Targeted outreach will ensure that those living in cities and towns such as Torquay, Colac and Warrnambool will complement the services available via the new shopfront.
DVA will be writing to veterans in the Geelong region to inform them of the changes. For more information please visit: http://www.dva.gov.au/about-dva/media-centre/new-service-delivery-arrangements-geelong-region
Media enquiries: Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046