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"Most people in the community who have not served have no idea what it is like being in the Defence Force. Many believe we sit around and do nothing all day.

"I'm not actually disappointed by not being recognised as a veteran. Everybody will pat you on the back on ANZAC Day and then you disappear back int society until the next remembrance occasion.

"Stop the tokenism such as Veterans Covenant, we don't need a pin and a poster, we need Government determined to take care of those who served and came home broken.

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"At a time when I needed help the most, I was turned away from five DVA approved hospitals because I was considered ‘too high risk’

"Not every veteran needs a gold card, but most certainly we deserve one. We put up our hands to defend our country and now we are fighting our country every day trying to get help

"I have trouble asking for help.

"I live in a caravan park, own my own van. Public housing list is far too long a wait.

"I’m on a TPI pension married with kids can’t get a home loan or adequate housing

"Some of my pension is tax-free, the rest isn’t, so unable to get gov housing assistance, hence I am couch surfing and allot of med retired vets are homeless

"Some civies love and understand ex-military but most don’t have a clue about the training and skills these former members could bring to their organisations.

"It was really hard trying to tell people what you could do. To translate Navy-speak into civi-speak

"The skills taught in the combat arms have no relevance when it comes to civilian life, with the exception of self-discipline and punctuality... clear thinking and man-management (to a degree)... Engineers who have been plant operators etc might have a better show... but the infantry... well, no one needs forward scouts, machine gunners, riflemen etc..

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"I think that the biggest opportunity that many veterans would appreciate would be free tertiary education. I paid a heavy price to increase my education levels after I completed my military service.

"30 years ago there was no transition programs. After medical discharge, you were dumped into civilian life without any support or program to help integrate. 

"Better supports for those wishing to study at either a vocational or university level. Especially more options for those who have been medically separated.

Not all of us want to be traffic controllers! 

"Ex-servicemen/women have the same opportunities as the civilians, everyone competes on qualification and experience.

"Serving in the ADF is often a meal ticket to poverty, e.g. the TPI payment for loss of income and pain and suffering is LESS than the minimum income.

"The pay in the ADF is much higher than a commensurate civilian position, therefore if you leave defence and go for a like for like job you will be taking a pay cut.

Empower veterans to help each other and help their entire community. Connection is the key.

I really don't know what can be done. Most of society wouldn't care about veterans which I've accepted over the years since discharge.

"I find it difficult to interact with those who have not been through the things I have.

So I don’t know what can be done.

What next?

In many ways, the results of the survey speak for themselves however they also call attention to the need to improve engagement within the veteran community.

 

Over the coming weeks and months, we will take a closer look at each of the areas and offer insights based on veterans have told us about their wellbeing and their suggestions on what can be done to respond to problem areas.

As a final note, we would like to express our thanks and appreciation to the 288 veterans who took the time to take our survey and write to us about their experiences. We will do our best to convey what you have said to those who can help us make a difference.

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