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Navy veteran appointed new repatriation Commissioner.

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Minister for Veterans' Affairs


Thursday 7 August 2003


A former career officer in the Royal Australian Navy, Rear Admiral Simon Harrington (Ret'd), will be the new Services member of the Repatriation Commission, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Danna Vale, announced today.

Mrs Vale said RADM Harrington would take up his three-year appointment as Repatriation Commissioner from 25 August 2003, succeeding Major General Paul Stevens.

"The Repatriation Commission is the agency charged with meeting Australia's commitment to care for those who have served our nation in wars, conflicts and peace operations," Mrs Vale said.

"With the support of the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Commission delivers compensation and health benefits and discharges the nation's obligation to remember and honour our servicemen and women.

"The Services member of the Commission is appointed from nominations received from the ex-service community. RADM Harrington's appointment was proposed by the RSL, Legacy and the Naval Association of Australia, and I am confident he will be well-received by the Australian veteran community," the Minister said.

RADM Harrington joined the RAN at the age of 15 and, after graduating from the Royal Australian Naval College, served in a number of ships including HMAS Vampire and HMAS Yarra during the Vietnam War.

His 39-year Navy career includes service in the Far East Strategic Reserve and in Papua New Guinea, before commanding HMAS Canberra in 1987-88 and HMAS Adelaide in 1992-93. RADM Harrington also served in positions including Commanding Officer of the RAN College at Jervis Bay, Director General Recruiting and Support Commander - Navy, and was Head of Australian Defence Staff and Defence Attache at the Australian Embassy in Washington for three years until retiring in 2002.

"RADM Harrington brings to his appointment a depth of operational and administrative experience that will be invaluable during what is likely to be a challenging period for the Repatriation Commission," the Minister said.

"This includes the implementation of the proposed new Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme, which is planned to be administered by a commission including the three members of the Repatriation Commission."

In welcoming RADM Harrington to the Commission, Mrs Vale paid tribute to the work of MAJGEN Stevens, who steps down after six years as Repatriation Commissioner.

"Paul Stevens served with distinction on the Commission at a time when the Gold Card was extended, when veteran partnering with private hospitals and Veterans' Home Care were introduced and when the new military rehabilitation and compensation legislation was drafted. He has also been instrumental in guiding significant studies into the health of Vietnam, Korean War and Gulf War veterans.

"MAJGEN Stevens is highly regarded for his dedication to the welfare of veterans and war widows and he leaves the Repatriation Commission with the gratitude and best wishes of the Government and the veteran community," Mrs Vale said.

Media contact: Rachael Thompson 0417 265 289