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Seasons greetings to the ex-service community.



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The Hon Alan Griffin MP Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

VA192 Friday, 21 December 2007

SEASONS GREETINGS TO THE EX-SERVICE COMMUNITY

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin, today extended his best wishes to veterans, ex-service personnel and their families and the defence community for a safe and happy holiday season.

Mr Griffin said the period since his appointment has been a busy time having met with Ex-Service Organisation (ESO) representatives from every state and territory to consult them about the new Government’s proposed work program and travelled to Vietnam for the repatriation of Lance Corporal John Gillespie. Mr Griffin also began work on introducing Labor’s comprehensive policy commitments for the ex-service community.

“Work has already commenced on improving delays in processing veterans’ claims and I expect significant improvements early next year. I have written to ESOs outlining a process to improve consultative arrangements and establish the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Ex-Service Matters,” Mr Griffin said.

“My Department has commenced on preparations to implement our election commitments and I look forward to working with the ex-service community during 2008 to introduce significant reform that will deliver real benefits for veterans and ex-service personnel.”

The Minister also highlighted several significant commemorative anniversaries falling during the next year including the 90th anniversaries of 1918 battles on the Western Front that led to the end of the First World War and the 40th anniversary of the battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral.

Although the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) normal operations would be closed from Tuesday 25 December 2007 to Tuesday 1 January 2008, key services would continue under DVA’s after-hours arrangements.

“While for many people the holiday season is a joyous time to be with family and friends, it can also be a time of loneliness for many in the ex-service community,” the Minister said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind the ex-service community that the VVCS - Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service offers 24-hour crisis counselling through Veterans’ Line and is available toll free on 1800 011 046.

“Next year will be a busy time but for now, stay safe, look after each other and enjoy Christmas and New Year. I look forward to working with the ex-service community on the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Media inquiries: Kym Connolly 0420 962 102