Funding to help Western Sydney veteran’s associations

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Five Ex-Service Organisations (ESO) in Western Sydney which provides advocacy services to veterans and their families have received funding as part of the Government’s Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) grants program.

Ex-Service Organisation and other veterans groups in Western Sydney which will receive funding include:

  • Rooty Hill Sub-Section of the NAA Incorporated $4,039.00 (Chifley)
  • Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Macarthur Sub-Branch Inc. $2,910.00 (Macarthur)
  • Blue Mountains Vietnam Veterans and Associated Forces Inc. $8,296.65 (Macquarie)
  • Windsor & District RSL Sub-Branch $1,428.42 (Macquarie)
  • Vietnam Veterans' Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association of Australia (NSW Branch) $204,496.89 (Parramatta)

Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said veterans and their families had served their nation and thanked ESOs for their continual support for the Defence and veteran communities.

“Defence personnel and veterans serve and sacrifice for their country, and it is vital they are supported by their community when they return,” Senator Payne said.

“The BEST grants program will help provide and expand their important support structures for our veteran community, especially as we move through the Coronavirus crisis.

“I congratulate and thank the Rooty Hill Sub-Section of the NAA for their committed service and support for our local veterans and their families

The BEST grants program funds a range of essential support measures from ESOs, advocates and welfare practitioners who continue to provide advice and assistance to the veteran and defence community. This round of BEST saw $4.2 million provided nationally to support organisations.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said staying connected with local ESOs and other veteran groups that provide advocacy services is vital in ensuring our veteran community is receiving the support they need.

“These organisations complement the support provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and show just how deeply the community is committed to putting veterans and their families first,” Mr Chester said.

“At this time more than ever, advocacy services through ESOs can help our veterans and their families with their claims, entitlements and other services.”

Secretary of The Rooty Hill Sub-Section of the Naval Association of Australia, Mr Robert Cooper OAM, welcomed the funding.

“We are very pleased to receive the BEST funding to help veterans and their families through these tough times”, Mr Cooper said.

“We look forward to a strong year to help and we will put the funding to the best project”

Mr John Lees, Secretary of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Macarthur Sub-Branch said funding would ensure the Sub-Branch continues to support the local veteran community.

“Macarthur Sub Branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia is a community based, non-profit association formed some 25 odd years ago, after it was found that local Vietnam veterans, ex-service veterans, serving members and their families were not being properly represented or had any venue to meet and socialise together with their families in an alcohol and gambling free atmosphere,” Mr Lees said.

“We meet on regular occasions throughout the month to hold BBQ’s/get together and meetings at our location in Campbelltown. We feel that we are providing an avenue whereby anyone can contact us for help, advice and comradeship with no commitment, as well as the fun and enjoyment of interaction with other members.”

Mr Chris McKay, Secretary of the Association, said the funding had come at a crucial time.

“Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, our self-funded Association hasn’t been able to carry out our normal fundraising activities, so this DVA grant is really welcome, Mr McKay said.

"The monies will be used to assist veterans in overcoming social isolation, which is probably the major concern of ESOs particularly as the veteran cohort is ageing. This concern has been exacerbated by the need to self-isolate during the COVID 19 pandemic.”

President of the Vietnam Veterans, Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association of Australia (NSW Branch), Mr Frank Cole, was grateful for the funding approval and said it would ensure that ex-service personnel are supported by their local community.

“The VVPPAA NSW is dedicated to helping former defence force personnel through our advocacy and welfare assistance programs. These programs are vital to ensuring that all veterans, both young and old, can access the supports for their compensation claims and appeals,” Mr Cole said.

“Our organisation understands the struggles of current and future veterans and assist, guide and advise them through the claims and appeals process.

“We would like to thank the Federal government for this grant funding which will help us continue to provide assistance to the thousands of veterans that walk through our doors. We are excited to see this funding cover some of our costs and ensure that we can continue to advocate and support our veteran communities.”

For more information on BEST grants visit the grants page on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website at www.dva.gov.au/grants.

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