As a united community, we can ensure that every veteran’s journey is one of dignity, opportunity, and lasting wellbeing, writes Janet Muir.
The recent Vietnam Veterans Day – this month commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and a solemn reminder of a conflict that once marked our longest engagement overseas – is a poignant time to reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave veterans and the lasting impact of their service.
This milestone not only invites us to honour their contributions but also to examine how far we’ve come in supporting veterans’ transitions to civilian life and consider what more can be done to ensure their wellbeing and prosperity.
New research from RSL LifeCare demonstrates the ongoing needs of veterans across the country. Two in five Australians (43 per cent) believe veterans need more physical healthcare and mental health support. Vietnam veterans themselves also identified income and support compensation (28 per cent) as a crucial area that required attention.
We stand firmly committed to the wellbeing of our veterans and their families. We are dedicated to developing comprehensive initiatives that address the multifaceted needs of veterans as they transition from military to civilian life. Our mission is to create a supportive environment that enables veterans to navigate these challenges with dignity, resilience and a sense of purpose.
One of the cornerstones of our support system is our commitment to employment assistance. We understand that transitioning to civilian employment can be a daunting task, and our programs are designed to bridge this gap by providing veterans with training, resources, and opportunities to re-enter the workforce successfully. Our efforts not only empower veterans but also contribute to the growth and productivity of our communities.
Housing is another critical aspect of a smooth transition. We have been at the forefront of providing transitional housing and financial assistance to veterans, ensuring they have a stable foundation as they embark on their new journeys. Safe and comfortable housing forms the bedrock of a fulfilled civilian life, allowing veterans to focus on their personal growth and aspirations.
Furthermore, our constructive relationship with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs underscores our commitment to veterans’ wellbeing. We help facilitate the processing of DVA claims, ensuring veterans receive the benefits and assistance they rightfully deserve. This relationship serves as a testament to our determination to streamline the administrative aspects of their transition, allowing veterans to focus on building their futures.
Joining us on this journey of recognition for Vietnam Veterans is General Sir Peter Cosgrove, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs ambassador for the 50th anniversary. Having served in the conflict at the age of 22, he lent his support to RSL LifeCare on this significant milestone.
He said, “On this 50-year milestone, and every year, it’s important to reflect on the service and sacrifice of tens of thousands of Australian service personnel that served in the Vietnam war.
Those men and women, now all in their senior years, having made a significant contribution to our nation, deserve our ongoing respect and support and especially during this important milestone period of reflection. Please reach out to them.”
Together with RSL NSW and support from the federal government, we assist thousands of veterans every year with many accessing Veterans’ and Families’ Hubs in the Riverina, Nowra, Newcastle and Dee Why. Support ranges from physical health and mental health care to social connection, residential facilities and financial guidance.
Looking ahead, we aim to deepen our impact by continually expanding our reach through increasing the number of these Veterans’ and Families’ Hubs to offer vital access and support to even more veterans and their families in the future. Just last week, we successfully moved to the second stage in becoming the provider for new hubs in the Hunter, Tweed and Queanbeyan regions in New South Wales.
As we mark this historic milestone, let us remember the sacrifices and resilience of our veterans. Their stories inspire us to redouble our efforts in creating a brighter and more prosperous future for those who have selflessly served our nation. Together, as a united community, we can ensure that every veteran’s journey is one of dignity, opportunity, and lasting wellbeing.
Janet Muir is chief executive officer of RSL LifeCare