Members of the veteran community are alert to the dangers in pushing for fast resolution of issues in relation to the findings of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. While there are actions that arguably cannot wait, such as fixing the myriad of issues within the bureaucracy that has led to a monumental backlog of unprocessed claims, solutions relating to the strategic issues of sector-wide governance and service standards need to be approached with caution.
“there is a better than even chance that any initiative led by DVA will make things worse, not better.”
Ian Lindgren is a veterans’ policy advocate who is concerned about DVA’s ongoing performance and ability to tackle the issues with the skills and imagination required for the long term. According to Lindgren, “there is a better than even chance that any initiative led by DVA will make things worse, not better.”
In his attempt to inject new thinking into improving the quality and effectiveness of service delivery for veterans throughout Australia, Lindgren has privately funded a series of veteran community symposia across the country. The first was conducted in Canberra on 30 September, followed by a round-table in Burnie on 6 October, with the next being held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane on November 9.
The key objectives of the meetings include defining the principles to guide any future legislative reform, developing a prioritised list of veteran support issues that need to be urgently addressed, and considering options for the future oversight of the quality and suitability of veteran services being delivered through DVA and ESOs.
In speaking with AVN. Lindgren said, “we need to fix the root cause of veteran issues and the only way you are going to do that is to ignore the well-worn excuse that it’s too complex.”
Taking policy discussions such as these away from the meddling hands of bureaucrats and the lapel-pinned brigade is a worthy initiative on its own. At the very least, the Australian Veteran Community Symposia signals the opportunity for wider consultation and it demonstrates what an intellectually robust round-table discussion might look like.
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