February VAC Key Outcomes

2018 Veterans Advisory Council Members. From left to right, Miss Chantelle Bohan, Ms Paula Dabovich, Mr James O’Hanlon, Ms Margot Forster, LTCOL Paul Graham, Mr Leon Eddy, Mr Laurie Lewis (Chair), Mr Chris Burns, Ms Sharon Mascall Dare, Ms Sally Heidenreich, Ms Karen May, CMDR Andrew Burnett, GPCAPT Brendan Rogers and Mr Rob Manton (Executive Officer).  Absent:  Ms Helen Meyer, Mr Michael von Ber, Mr Bronson Horan and Mr Frank Lampard.


A Veterans’ Advisory Council (VAC) meeting was held on Thursday, 8 February 2018, in the Combined Mess at Torrens Parade Ground. The Chair of the Veterans’ Advisory Council, Brigadier Laurie Lewis AM, welcomed new members:

Air Commodore Margot Forster CSM

Ms Karen May

Major Sally Heidenreich

Group Captain Brendan Rogers CSC CSM

The guest speakers were Dr Hilary Engward, Senior Research Fellow, Veterans and Families Institute at the Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom and Professor Sandy McFarlane AO, Director, Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, University of Adelaide.

Dr Engward spoke about her research in conjunction with the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association (Blesma) researching the experience of 72 limbless veterans and their families living with limb loss. Dr Engward also spoke more broadly about research being undertaken in the United Kingdom into veterans in the criminal justice system, improved service delivery for veterans and transition using a cultural competence perspective

Professor McFarlane briefed the VAC about the history of the treatment of post-traumatic stress injuries in both military and civilian settings. The VAC decided that the April meeting would be themed around health and wellbeing. Further discussion will be had on the topic of language when referring to Post Traumatic Stress at this meeting.

The VAC settled its meeting dates for 2018. The VAC will meet again on the following dates in 2018:

  • Thursday, 12 April, 2018
  • Thursday, 14 June, 2018
  • Thursday, 23 August, 2018
  • Thursday, 11 October, 2018
  • Thursday, 6 December, 2018

Other matters considered at the meeting included:

  • South Australian Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017-2022
  • State Government Veterans Employment Framework
  • Veterans Health Advisory Council Update
  • National status for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial
  • The Jamie Larcombe Centre Partnerships Hub
  • Review of the VAC Terms of Reference and South Australia’s Charter for Veterans
  • The StoryRight project that assists serving and ex-serving member of the ADF to develop a short personal narrative to be used for job interviews
  • RSL State Branch initiatives including the Little Digger Child Care Centre proposal at Edinburgh

For more information about any of the matters discussed by the VAC or to suggest an agenda item for the next meeting on 12 April, 2018, please call Paul Sykes on 8226 8552 or email: veteranssa@sa.gov.au