Q. From the choices below, what do you think are the main barriers preventing some veterans and their families from taking advantage of the services and benefits provided by DVA and ex-service organisations?
"Abuse victims are shamed "
"They prefer to blame rather than seek help"
"They hear about others who have difficulties, so they don't apply"
"Those with strong regimental or ship or sqn connections have an advantage"
"DVA and Ex service are hostile"
"Women veterans often are ignored and belittled by these organisations, which just makes things harder when we need veteran specific help"
Q. As a Defence Veteran, do you feel adequately recognised and respected by the Australian community?
62% said YES
38% said NO
"I am not respected by veterans or the wider community including RSL members, because of their attitudes towards me because I am a female, served in the late 1980s, I wasn't deployed. I am 5 feet tall, ethnic and apparently too friendly and feminine to be in a man's job."
"I feel respected but not really recognised. Further recognition and education on what a veteran looks like in 2021 is required for the community to realise that we’re not all in our 80’s."
"Anzac Day etc are enough for me. I don’t want to wear the badge we were given because it feels like people would think I have a sense of entitlement and wanting attention."
"Less talk and fake platitudes from politicians and law-makers, and more tangible and visible responses!"
Q. As an Australian Defence Veteran, do you have access to the health services that you need?
80% said YES
20% said NO
"DVA Gold Card holders get terrific service and very good access."
"Break the barriers that exist in seeking help. Currently, we breed a culture in the ADF of not needing help and not asking for it, yet we expect veterans to break that cultural barrier when they’re out to seek help."
"A big erosion of health services in regional areas. And poor transport infrastructure."
"Usual answer. DVA service and turnaround times need substantial improvement. Could be rectified with more staff."
Q. Did your training and experience in the ADF provide you with the skills and qualifications you needed to succeed in civilian employment?
42% said YES
44% said NO
15% said Not Applicable*
* Most common reasons offered were Retirement and Medical Discharge
"The qualifications I received in defence whilst nationally recognized were not recognized by employers."
"My training as an and certified Aircraft Handler didn't qualify me for anything in civi life. Therefore, I furthered my education at TAFE, that I paid for out of my own pocket."
"I was discharged after 6 yrs in ‘78 after serving the term which I signed up for, NO assistance whatsoever with resettlement into civilian life, NONE!"
Q. In relation to housing and the opportunity for homeownership after leaving the ADF, how would your rate your situation in comparison to other people in your community?
30% said they had some advantages (123 people)
17% said they were disadvantaged (70 people)
53% said they were neither advantaged nor disadvantaged
"DHOAS is not competitive and is a clunky system."
"I’m TPI. I was employed earning $180k 5 years ago now I’m earning $63k. I’m disadvantaged by my military service."
"The mobility of ADF service makes it harder to get into the property market"
Q. In terms of your income and financial situation after leaving the ADF, how would your rate your outcomes in comparison to other people in your community?
28% said they had some advantages (116 people)
25% said they were disadvantaged (103 people)
47% said they were neither advantaged nor disadvantaged
"Thank God for my "GOLD CARD," I would struggle financially without it.
For people that join defence at an early age, some basic financial literacy training would be beneficial. Low pay on joining means that most (not all) ADF members live payday to payday, and this habit follows them through their career.
"Bulk choc dollars while in uni was amazing, and have definitely contributed to my savings."
Q. Please rate on the scale below how well you feel connected to your local community on a scale where 1 = not well connected
and 5 = very well connected
"I am an active member of my local RSL which about the only social activities that I attend."
"There are plenty of activities, veterans need to get out and get into the community."
"As a TPI Veteran I find it very difficult to gather the strength to explore available options."
This is merely a snapshot of what we've been told. There's more to the tell and we look forward to sharing our analysis and insights over the coming months.
We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to the 409 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 make a difference.