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Vietnam veterans, peacekeepers and peacemakers join forces.

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A ground breaking new agreement has been reached between two key veterans organisations. The Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) and the Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans’ Association (APPVA) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to work together.

The joining of these two major veterans’ groups will create one powerful voice for veterans.

While maintaining separate identities, the new agreement means that the two organisations will work together on a number of issues, including policy development, advocacy for veterans, awareness raising, welfare initiatives and fundraising programs.

The MOA also has practical benefits, with the assets and skills of both organisations complementing the other. The VVAA has significant advocacy and negotiation expertise honed through years of fighting for veteran’s rights, but its membership is ageing. The APPVA’s membership base is typically younger, with its numbers swelled by recent deployments, such as to East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. By working together, both organisations will benefit.

Ron Coxon, President of the VVAA, said: “As our Vietnam veteran members age, and are unable to continue their vigorous advocacy work, there will be a seamless handover to our partners in the APPVA. I believe the agreement will ensure our veterans will continue to have a strong and active voice into the future.”

The President of the APPVA, Paul Copeland said the APPVA has significant experience in complex claims by veterans who fall under multiple Acts and is pleased both organisations have joined forces by signing the agreement.

“The agreement is designed as a positive document that seeks to encourage co-operation and bi-partisanship, recognising each association’s identity and the value of working together to achieve common goals.

“The experiences of Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers are usually different to those of Vietnam veterans. However, bringing those differences together creates a formidable union and makes both our organisations stronger,” Mr Copeland said.

Both the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) and the Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans’ Association have sought to underline that this formal partnership maintains their distinct identities. Neither organisation is affiliated with the recently renamed Vietnam Veteran, Peacekeeper & Peacekeeper Association of Australia (formerly known as the Vietnam Veterans’ Federation).

Further media comment: Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans’ Association - Paul Copeland: 0419 355 226 Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) - Ron Coxon 0412 264 346 1 December 2008