The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
Senator for New South Wales
THE health and wellbeing of veterans and their families on the South Coast of NSW will receive a much-needed increase in local benefits with the new Veteran Wellbeing Centre in Nowra open from Monday.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said today’s opening at the wellbeing centre’s temporary location by the lead organisation RSL LifeCare, would mean the local veteran community could access a one stop shop of services and support.
“A key focus of these Veteran Wellbeing Centres is ensuring services and support that meet the needs of veterans and their families, including community and peer programs, wellbeing case services and coordinated community sporting activities,” Mr Chester said.
“RSL LifeCare, with the support of RSL NSW, is ensuring veterans are connected to a range of core services providing support for transition, employment, health and social connection.”
The first occupants of the temporary location will include Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling, RSL LifeCare Veteran Services and Veteran Sport Australia.
Senator for New South Wales, the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, said while the process of building the new Wellbeing Centre was underway, she was pleased to see the needs of the veteran community being served through this temporary shopfront.
“Nowra and the surrounding region has around 5,000 veterans and their families, as well as two Defence bases in HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell, and having services up and running in a temporary capacity is encouraging,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
“It is so important that our Australian Defence Force personnel, veterans and their families have a dedicated place where they can go to connect with one another and to also access the assistance they need.
“I wish RSL LifeCare all the best and look forward to visiting the permanent location when it is finished.”
RSL LifeCare Chair Andrew Condon said the organisation is proud to have a physical footprint in the Nowra region to deliver services to veterans and their families.
“Nowra has a proud tradition of service and a great mix of current and ex-serving Defence Force members that we hope to connect with,” Mr Condon said.
“We will continue to consult and work with the local community to ensure that the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre delivers services that are veteran-centric and recovery focused.”
RSL NSW President Ray James says it is important for them to continue to work with a variety of ex‑service organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families, and to provide individualised services based on the needs of local veterans.
“When the Veteran Wellbeing Centre is open, veterans and their families will be able to access services and programs in a friendly, welcoming environment where their unique experiences are understood and supported, and their military service is respected,” Mr James said.
At the last election, the Government committed $30 million to develop a network of six Veteran Wellbeing Centres across Australia in partnership with ex-service organisations (ESOs) and state and territory Governments. For more information about the Veteran Wellbeing Centres, visit the DVA website www.dva.gov.au/wellbeing-centres
Rachel Tharratt or Cedric Szigeti: 02 6277 7820
Senator Fierravanti-Wells: Wade McInerney, 02 4226 1700
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT
Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au