Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Inquiry into transition from the Australian Defence Force

Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Inquiry into transition from the Australian Defence Force
Inquiry into transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
                                    Submission 33




 Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Defence and Trade Inquiry into transition from
          the Australian Defence Force




                   Joint Submission
             Department of Defence
       Department of Veterans’ Affairs




                             July 2018
Inquiry into transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
                                                            Submission 33

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................................................................... 1

INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................. 8

   Defence Transition Transformation Program - Improvements in the ADF Transition Process ... 9

   DVA’s Transformation................................................................................................................ 11

   Joint Defence/ DVA Transition Taskforce .................................................................................. 12

   The future of transition ................................................................................................................ 12

TERM OF REFERENCE 1 - The barriers that prevent ESOs from effectively engaging with ADF
members, the Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide more
effective support to ADF personnel as they transition out of Service............................................. 14

   Defence engagement with ESOs ................................................................................................. 14

   DVA engagement with ESOs ...................................................................................................... 16

   Ex-Service Organisation Round Table (ESORT) ....................................................................... 18

   Recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee Report - Mental Health of Australian
   Defence Force members and veterans and current programs within the ADF .......................... 19

   Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program (PMVEP) .................................................... 20

   Ex-Service Organisation Initiatives............................................................................................. 20

   Conclusion ................................................................................................................................... 20

TERM OF REFERENCE 2 – The model of mental health care while in ADF Service and through
the transition period to the DVA ..................................................................................................... 21

   Mental Health Reform in Defence .............................................................................................. 21

   Defence’s approach to mental health and wellbeing – Fit to Fight, Fit to work and Fit for Life 21

   Mental Health Services in Defence ............................................................................................. 22

   Data and Evidence of Success ..................................................................................................... 25

   Health Aspects of Transition ....................................................................................................... 26

   What is Defence Doing to Improve Mental Health Care and Transition Health Support to
   Serving ADF Members? .............................................................................................................. 28

   Ongoing Research ....................................................................................................................... 29

   DVA support for transitioning members with a mental health conditions.................................. 30

   DVA activities supporting prevention, early intervention and self-management ....................... 31

   Social health and community connectedness .............................................................................. 31
Inquiry into transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
                                                               Submission 33

   DVA funded clinical services...................................................................................................... 32

   DVA acute mental health services and PTSD programs ............................................................. 32

   DVA rehabilitation services ........................................................................................................ 32

   Strengthening suicide prevention efforts ..................................................................................... 32

   Improving access to services ....................................................................................................... 33

   Breaking down barriers and building pathways to care .............................................................. 35

   Innovation and emerging treatments ........................................................................................... 35

   Continuing to support research.................................................................................................... 35

   Strengthening Workforce Capacity ............................................................................................. 36

   Veterans and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service (VVCS) ................................................. 36

   Support for families and carers ................................................................................................... 37

   Other mental health awareness training and support................................................................... 38

   Post-transition follow-up contact with ADF members ............................................................... 39

   Transition for Employment (T4E) program ................................................................................ 39

   Additional information for the Committee’s consideration ........................................................ 40

TERM OF REFERENCE 3 – The efficacy of whole-of-government support to facilitate the
effective transition to employment in civilian life of men and women who have served in the ADF
......................................................................................................................................................... 42

   Transition Preparation Phase ....................................................................................................... 42

   Transition Phase .......................................................................................................................... 46

   Financial support ......................................................................................................................... 53

   Compensation payments.............................................................................................................. 53

   Income support ............................................................................................................................ 53

   Post-Transition Phase .................................................................................................................. 53

   External education and training opportunities............................................................................. 55

   Employment initiatives................................................................................................................ 55

TERM OF REFERENCE 4 – Any related matters ......................................................................... 58

   Women in the ADF ..................................................................................................................... 58

   Reserves....................................................................................................................................... 58


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   Eligibility for transition support .................................................................................................. 58

   ADF Transition Partnership ........................................................................................................ 59

   Resourcing in ADF Transition Centres ....................................................................................... 59

   DVA/Defence joint initiatives to deliver integrated approaches to transition services .............. 59

   DVA transition support ............................................................................................................... 60

   Coordinated Client Support program .......................................................................................... 61

   Productivity Commission Issues paper - Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans – May
   2018 ............................................................................................................................................. 61

   ADF Transition – Success stories beyond a military career ....................................................... 62

LIST OF ATTACHMENTS............................................................................................................ 64




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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.     The Department of Defence (Defence) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
(the Departments) welcome the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Parliamentary Inquiry into transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
2.      The key focus for Defence is on training and retaining ADF members to deliver Defence
capability on behalf of Government. Defence has a well-regarded training continuum that seeks to
retain individuals with the key skills and attributes to fight and win. However, Defence also
recognises that transition is inevitable and that between 5,500 and 6,000 members leave the ADF
annually. Of those, the vast majority do so voluntarily, with approximately 20 per cent
transitioning for medical reasons.
3.      The Departments recognise that leaving the military is a significant life changing event for
many ADF members and their families and that both agencies need to provide sufficient support
and management before, during and post transition to ensure our veterans and their families
transition successfully into civilian life.
4.      Defence retains a duty of care for its members and has a commensurate support role for
their family, up to and including the date of transition, and on occasion for a period post
transition. A member joining the ADF becomes a DVA client on enlistment or appointment and
after one days full time service can access DVA services such as Non Liability Health Care for
mental health conditions. Defence and DVA recognise the need to engage and encourage the
broader Australian community to recognise the service and sacrifice ADF members and their
families make, and to facilitate better reintegration into civilian life.
5.      Within Defence, all Commanding Officers must consider the welfare of ADF members
under their command. Transition is a shared responsibility of Command and the ADF member.
Participation in the transition process is mandatory for all ADF members regardless of the reason
for leaving. ADF members and their families, and by extension Commanders, are supported
through a comprehensive transition process and access to transition support.
6.     Throughout the 100-years of DVA (including its predecessor, the Department of
Repatriation) and the Repatriation Commission, the broad notion of ‘repatriation’ – returning
servicemen and women to civilian society and honouring their sacrifice – has informed all of
DVA’s primary roles.
7.      A fundamental role of DVA has been providing a substantial part of the “offer” made by
the Nation to each service member. This offer recognises the willingness of the enlistee to commit
to service, be subjected to military discipline, and to be placed in harm’s way for Australia.
Veterans and their families enrich our communities, and the Australian Government will look
after them during and after service.
8.      The experience of transition varies. Noting ADF members receive unique and valuable
training throughout their career with Defence, and the skills they have learned during their service
are transferable and in demand, many members transition successfully and quickly re-establish
civilian lives.
9.      For some though, transitioning from the ADF is not as easy or positive as it could be, and
these individuals and their families may face complex social, financial, employment and
wellbeing challenges. This is particularly the case if they enlisted at a young age with little
experience of adult civilian life or employment.
10.     Barriers to successful transition can include a member’s level of control over the decision
to leave military service, their awareness of, and access to, transition-related information and
services, and unpreparedness to manage the differences between the military environment and
civilian life, include loss of identity.


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11.    The Australian Government, through Defence and DVA, is focussed on improving the
way veterans’ transition into civilian life. Significant investment has been made to promote and
provide further transition support and veterans’ employment services.
12.    The departments recognise however, that further work is needed to ensure all transitioning
ADF members can access appropriate support when they need it, support services are streamlined
and seamless across agencies, and that there are multiple opportunities throughout the transition
process for transitioning members to engage with support services.
13.    Defence and DVA invite the Chair and members of the Joint Standing Committee on
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to visit the Canberra ADF Transition Centre at the Defence
Community Organisation (DCO) Headquarters in Deakin, ACT. Defence would be pleased to
provide a detailed briefing on the current and planned future state of the ADF transition process.
DVA will also provide a briefing on the DVA support provided during and post transition.
Background - where we have come from
14.     Historically, the Departments have not always operated as collaboratively as could have
been the case. For some time there was a marked differential where Defence was responsible for
members until they left the ADF, and DVA provided services and support to those who reached
out for it post leaving the ADF. This approach by the Departments resulted in a lack of
information sharing and collaboration with each agency focusing on their own processes and
systems, rather than ensuring the member’s needs were considered more holistically. It was also
borne out in a lack of focus on the families.
15.     From 2011, greater collaboration commenced with the establishment of the On Base
Advisory Service (OBAS). DVA staff are located at ADF bases to provide advice and
information about DVA services to members. Since then, the breadth and tempo of the
collaboration between Defence, DVA and others to provide a more collaborative approach to
transition support has increased.

Current - what we are doing
16.   More recently, the Departments have invested in significant transformation programs to
improve the interactions of ADF members and their families with each Department.
17.       Defence and DVA are:
      •   working together to implement the Government’s 2016 election policy to Support
          Veteran’s and their Families - Creating a Better Veteran’s Transition Process;
      •   collaborating through a joint Transition Taskforce to identify opportunities to improve the
          transition process and experience
      •   piloting new initiatives to deliver integrated approaches to transition services, including
          the Transition Health Assessment, the Special Operations Forces and Case Management
          pilots
      •   sharing information, increasing the opportunity for DVA to engage with transitioning
          members to proactively offer support; for example:
             o under the Early Engagement Model, members who joined the ADF from 1 January
               2016, and those who transitioned after 27 July 2016, are now automatically
               registered with DVA
             o the information provided under this Model is enabling DVA White Cards to be
               issued automatically to members transitioning from permanent service, facilitating
               easier access to mental health support
             o since 2014, all transitioned members receive a letter from the Secretary of DVA
               about the services and support available through DVA
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   •   better supporting medically transitioning members through a more connected rehabilitation
       system
   •   working together to improve the mental health and wellbeing support provided to
       members and their families during and after military service, and
   •   conducting joint research to develop our understanding of veterans’ needs, particularly in
       relation to mental health.
18.    Recently, Defence has made the following significant enhancements to the support
available to transitioning ADF members and their families:
   •   reinforced the mandatory engagement by ADF members with the ADF Transition process
       when leaving Defence
   •   refresh of the nationally delivered Transition Seminars to encourage family participation
   •   targeted family involvement through all aspects of transition
   •   coaching and mentoring support delivered by qualified career development practitioners
   •   one-on-one support provided during transition and for up to twelve months after leaving
       Defence for ADF members and their families including:
            o advice and guidance to members in completing Transition Clearance requirements
            o development of a tailored Transition Plan
            o transition and career coaching
            o support to engage with relevant internal and external agencies
            o referral to Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs), as appropriate.
   •   support for transitioning ADF members to have access to the following documentation:
            o an individual transition plan
            o record of Professional Military Education and Training
            o Unit posting and employment history
            o final payment and leave entitlement summaries
            o copies of medical and dental records
            o ADF Will (if applicable).
   •   comprehensive and plain language ADF Member and Family Transition Guide – A
       Practical Manual to Transitioning (ref Attachment 2 – ADF Member and Family
       Transition Guide)
   •   future employment support under the Career Transition Assistance Scheme (CTAS):
            o Job Search Preparation workshops (for members with less than 18 years’ service).
            o CV Coaching
            o Career Transition Management Coaching
            o Career Transition Training
            o financial counselling
            o Approved Absence (up to 23 days).
   •   post-transition follow up for 12 months after transition through:
            o 30-day follow up phone calls

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            o quarterly electronic surveys.
   •   consolidated reporting of transitioned ADF members to internal and external agencies to
       support early engagement
   •   collaboration with Transition Stakeholders specifically external Government, ESOs, and
       not for profit organisations
   •   access to the Transition for Employment (T4E) program for ADF members with complex
       medical conditions
19.      An essential component of a successful transition for an ADF member and their family is
receiving appropriate recognition for their service to the Nation and for the sacrifices they have
made. This recognition should be delivered by the military and, to this end, Defence is
strengthening its existing practice by integrating Military Transition Support Officers into the
transition coaching model. The intent is that these military members will provide the military
element of transition and achieve a more positive experience for transitioning ADF members and
their families through: providing regular and consistent Unit briefings to Commanding Officers
and ADF members, supporting the delivery of transition support services and importantly,
facilitating recognition of the transitioning ADF.
20.    DVA’s transformation to meet the current and future needs of all veterans and their
families is of relevance to the inquiry. In the 2017-18 Budget, the Australian Government
provided $166.6 million over four years for transformation. An additional $111.9 million has been
provided in the 2018-19 Budget. In its first year, transformation has improved the ease and speed
with which current and former serving members can submit claims and have liability for
conditions assessed.

The future – what we intend to do
21.  Both Departments are exploring new methods to facilitate better outcomes for ADF
members and their families who transition in the future.
22.     Defence and DVA are reviewing the current support services provided to ADF members
and their families both pre and post transition with a view to streamlining and enhancing support
where practical, with a specific focus on improving family engagement and employment
outcomes. The Departments will consider international military transition programs to leverage
insights and innovative practices.
23.     The Departments see significant value in a greater level of partnership with organisations
that can offer opportunities to transitioning and transitioned veterans and their families.
24.     Under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program, business may
also play a greater role in the transition process. Most ADF members will transition with valuable
leadership, management and individual attributes that Australian industry should recognise as
adding value to their organisation.
25.     The Departments are investigating opportunities to better prepare ADF members and their
families for transition. For example, having conversations early on in a member’s career about
their personal goals. This would provide a platform to have meaningful and goal based
conversations about personal and professional development.
26.  The Departments recognise that families are a fundamental source of support for the ADF
member and they too are impacted by ADF service and transition.
   •   Defence now invites the partners of ADF members to participate in transition coaching
       sessions. In addition, Defence encourages Defence partners and family members to attend
       ADF Transition Seminars.



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   •   Defence is currently revising the format of ADF Transition Seminars to make them more
       family friendly. In addition, Defence is placing transition seminar content online to make
       the transition information more accessible for family members.
   •   the Government’s Family Support Package provides extended childcare assistance and
       counselling for veterans’ immediate family members.
   •   the Veterans’ Families Policy Forum provides an opportunity for veterans’ families to
       engage with Government and DVA about their needs and experiences. Learnings from
       forums such as this are informing future DVA policy direction and support arrangements.
27.     Defence and DVA aim to provide an optimal transition experience which ensures tailored
assistance and easy to access support services, meaningful interactions, simplified processes and
person-centric services. The Departments are committed to achieving the best possible outcomes
and will continue their reform efforts to address barriers to an effective transition, and provide
certainty in what is an uncertain time.
Terms of Reference

28.     Term of Reference 1 considers engagement with Ex-Service Organisations. The
Departments recognise the importance of the services and support provided by Ex-Service
Organisations (ESOs) to ADF members and their families, during service, transition and in
civilian life.
29.     The 2016 Aspen Foundation report, Ex-Service Organisation Mapping project – Final
Report, mapped the services provided by ESOs and ESO-like organisations. This report highlights
the complexity of the ESO landscape, identifying approximately 2,780 ESO locations around
Australia. The number, location, differing level of skill and differing services is potentially a
barrier to effective and efficient engagement with the ESO community as a homogenous group.
30.     The Departments continue to work with ESOs using several different methods of
engagement to address perceived barriers between ESOs and the Departments, and ADF members
while they serve, and as they transition.
31.     Some current ADF units and individual ADF members, are members of ESOs, or support
ESOs through formal fund-raising and other support activities. Likewise, many ESOs are able to
provide support to military units, ADF members and their families while they are still serving,
during their transition, and post transition in civilian life.
32.    Term of Reference 2 considers the model of mental health care while in ADF service and
through the transition period. Defence is an active leader in Australia in the area of workplace
mental health reform. The Departments work closely to support transitioning members and their
families who require support during and post their transition.
33.     Defence invests approximately $53 million each year to provide a range of mental health
education awareness, evidence-based treatment and rehabilitation programs, for all ADF
members, no matter the cause of their mental health problems. ADF members are provided with
health services, including mental health, treatment and rehabilitation support prior to, during and
post-deployment designed to enhance their ability to cope with the challenges of deployment and
to improve their capacity for effective transition back into work and family life.
34.     DVA funds mental health treatment services through the broader Australian health care
system. Annual spending on supporting the mental health needs of eligible veterans is in the
vicinity of $200 million. Funding for mental health treatment is uncapped, meaning there is
funding available to meet demand, and there are no restrictions on an individual veteran’s access
to services.
35.    The 2017-18 Budget delivered an additional $58 million in mental health support,
including a further expansion of non-liability mental health care to anyone who has served at least

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one day of continuous full-time service in the ADF. Families of those eligible for non-liability
mental health care now also have access to the range of counselling and support services offered
through the Veterans and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service (VVCS).
36.    Defence, through Joint Health Command (JHC), delivers comprehensive health care to
meet all the health needs of its members, ensuring ADF members have access to high quality,
evidence-based health care wherever they serve.
37.     Defence continues to improve and evolve its approach to mental health and wellbeing in
the ADF. The Defence Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018-23 (the Strategy),
consolidates and builds on Defence experience and delivers on its commitment to develop a
whole-of-organisation approach to improving the mental health and wellbeing of all Defence
personnel. The Strategy reflects the findings of recent reviews and inquiries into issues of mental
health and suicide prevention amongst current and former members of the ADF. Importantly it
also aligns with the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (2017-2022) and
incorporates the latest mental health research.
38.    Through Joint Health Command, Defence will maintain a focus on continual improvement
of mental health programs and the Defence mental health care model to ensure they remain
responsive to the emerging needs of ADF members and support the capability requirements for
Defence.
39.     The Departments continue to monitor emergent evidence-based practice and use results
from its research to improve its programs for current and former ADF members. Defence is
working closely with DVA to develop mental health awareness initiatives, research, and improved
transition processes that are based on the evidence gathered through these studies.
40.     The Departments will also continue to collaborate on research, programs and initiatives to
strengthen mental health resilience, increase awareness and early recognition of mental health
problems, improve access to care and strengthen continuity of health care arrangements where
these are required. This particularly applies to the crucial period during which ADF member’s
transition from military service into civilian life. Defence is committed to providing flexible
health support to transitioning military members, including those who need to transition at short
notice for medical or compassionate reasons.
41.     Term of Reference 3 considers whole-of-government support to facilitate effective
transition to employment. There have been substantial improvements recently by the Departments
focussed on increasing employment opportunities for ADF members as they transition. The
introduction of the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program, Defence’s Job Search
Preparation workshops and the ADF transition coaching service delivery is helping to increase the
probability of ADF members securing civilian employment after military service where
appropriate.
42.     In 2017, Defence commenced a series of surveys post transition to better understand
transition outcomes for ADF members. The survey results are assisting to introduce business
improvements and focus on those members who require greater support. Through the new
transition service delivery model, 4,608 planning sessions and 4,295 individual coaching sessions
have been conducted with ADF members and their families. This includes 50 coaching sessions
provided to members after they left Defence.
43.     As at 2 May 18, approximately 160 former ADF members have been connected with
further support as a result of post-transition contact by Defence.
44.     Through these surveys there is now evidence available which demonstrates that the
majority of transitioned ADF members are meaningfully engaged with 11 per cent advising that
they are ‘looking for work’ four months after they leave Defence. A few responses have been
collected at the 10 and 13 month post-transition point; however they are small in volume. The


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trends reflected at these points in time indicate that in the first 10 months post transition the
‘looking for work’ rate is about 8 per cent.
45.     These statistics align with the findings of the 2017 Transition and Wellbeing Research
Programme which indicate that approximately 84 per cent of the transitioned Defence members
who participated in the study were either working or engaged in purposeful activity, and a further
5.5 per cent were retired.
46.     Term of Reference 4 considers any related matters. The Departments have provided
additional matters for the Committee’s consideration, including commentary regarding the
transition of women from the ADF, Reservists, and the eligibility for transition support.




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INTRODUCTION
1.      Within Defence, all Commanding Officers must consider the welfare of ADF members
under their command. Transition from the ADF is an inevitable part of every member’s career and
is a shared responsibility of Command and the member. Participation in the process of transition
is mandatory for all ADF members, regardless of the reason for leaving Defence.
2.      ADF members and their families, and by extension Command, are supported through the
transition process by Defence (Defence Community Organisation and Joint Health Command) and
the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
3.      Defence provides comprehensive health and welfare support through transition to all ADF
members. The ADF Transition support services are available to all members and their families
regardless of their reason for leaving. The goal of Defence’s transition support is to ensure that the
ADF member and their family are well prepared for civilian life, such as having civilian health
care in place, having considered the financial implications of transition, are connected to relevant
community groups (including Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs)) and, where appropriate, are able
to secure civilian employment.
4.     Throughout the 100-years of DVA (including its predecessor, the Department of
Repatriation) and the Repatriation Commission, the broad notion of ‘repatriation’ – returning
servicemen and women to civilian society and honouring their sacrifice – has informed all of
DVA’s primary roles.
5.      A fundamental role of DVA has been providing a substantial part of the “offer” made by
the Nation to each service member. This offer recognises the willingness of the enlistee to commit
to service, be subjected to military discipline, and to be placed in harm’s way for Australia.
Veterans and their families enrich our communities, and the Australian Government will look
after them during and after service.
6.      DVA supports ADF members through their career, transition and after military service by
delivering key programs for veterans and their families to:
     •   maintain and enhance the financial wellbeing and self-sufficiency of eligible persons and
         their dependants through access to income support, compensation, and other support
         services including advice and information on entitlements
     •   maintain and enhance the physical wellbeing and quality of life of eligible persons and
         their dependants through health and other care services that promote early intervention,
         prevention and treatment, including advice and information about health service
         entitlements
7.       In financial year 2016-17 a total of 5,904 members left the ADF. This included:
     •   3,045 who left voluntarily (52 per cent)
     •   1,192 who left for medical reasons (20 per cent)
     •   839 who completed a continuous full time service contract (14 per cent)
     •   693 who left for involuntary reasons (12 per cent - includes failure to complete training
         and disciplinary reasons)
     •   72 who left through management initiated actions (1 per cent - including redundancy,
         managed early retirement and command initiated transfer to Reserves), and
     •   63 who reached compulsory retirement age (1 per cent).




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Defence Transition Transformation Program - Improvements in the ADF
Transition Process
8.      Since 2008, Defence has provided a transition support service for all ADF members and
their families leaving the military. This includes members leaving for medical reasons, Reserve
members on Continuous Full Time Service and ADF Gap Year members.
9.     Since 2012, transition support services have been delivered through Defence People
Group, managed by DCO, under the banner of ADF Transition. This service ensures that ADF
members and their families are well informed regarding transition, and are encouraged to access
educational, financial, rehabilitation, compensation and other government services to facilitate
sound transition planning.
10.    In June 2016, the Coalition published the Coalition’s Policy to Support Veterans and Their
Families. The policy was a catalyst for change within Defence and across Government and
improved interagency collaboration. The Transition Transformation Program is part of Defence’s
response to the Coalition policy.
11.     The Transition Transformation Program is ensuring that the level of support provided to
ADF members and their families targets its effort towards those most in need, based on criteria
such as finding employment, continuity of healthcare and social connectedness. This personalised
service helps ADF members better prepare for and integrate into civilian life.
12.     The Transition Transformation Program identified a range of business improvement
projects for ADF Transition. Each project initiative is designed to improve the transition
experience for ADF members and their families (ref Attachment 1 – Transition Transformation
Placemat).
13.   Improvements to the transition process continue and the following will be implemented by
Defence in 2018:
   •   redesign of the ADF Transition Seminar including changing the format to increase
       participation, changing content to meet contemporary needs and making parallel online
       content available for ADF members and their families who cannot attend a Seminar in
       person
   •   development of online transition support tools and interactive content which:
            o targets families to better inform them of the transition process and support
              available
            o provides information and useful lessons on career coaching
            o promotes and identifies benefits available under the Career Transition Assistance
              Scheme (CTAS), which is a suite of services to facilitate transition to civilian
              employment through training and financial support.
   •   implementation of the Transition National Support team in order to simplify administrative
       processes, and release Defence’s qualified Transition Coaches to concentrate on the career
       development and coaching of transitioning members and their families.
   •   continued efforts to improve access to qualifications and training records as well as
       medical records
   •   delivery of additional resources for transitioning ADF members to assist them in
       translating and explaining their skills and experience in plain language for civilian
       employers




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    •   review of the Career Transition Assistance Scheme with a view to ensuring that provides
        contemporary support and is flexible, equitable and accessible by all ADF members and
        their families regardless of their length of service or reason for leaving, and
    •   pilot of the Transition for Employment (T4E) program. This program will support
        transitioning ADF members, with complex medical conditions, in the employment element
        of their transition by building resilience and an enduring capability to secure and maintain
        employment post transition.
14.    The following table demonstrates the significant enhancement in recent years regarding
the support available to transitioning ADF members and their families:
Transition Support as at 2012                  Transition Support as at 2018
•    Two-day Transition Seminars                •    Mandatory engagement by ADF members with
     delivered nationally for ADF                    ADF Transition when leaving Defence.
     members and their families.                •    Two-day Transition Seminars delivered
•    One-on-one transition support to meet           nationally for ADF members and their families.
     Defence’s mandatory administrative         •    Targeted family involvement through all aspects
     transition requirements including:              of transition.
    o Advice and guidance to members            •    Coaching and mentoring support delivered by
        in completing Transition Clearance           qualified career development practitioners.
        requirements;
    o Provide final pay and leave checks        •    One-on-one support provided during transition
    o Individual confirmation of                     and for up to twelve months after leaving
        separation to Career Management              Defence for ADF members and their families
        Agency via signals.                          including:
•    Future employment support under the            o advice and guidance to members in
     CTAS including:                                    completing Transition Clearance
                                                        requirements
    o CV Coaching Career Transition
        Management Coaching                         o development of a tailored Transition Plan
                                                    o transition and career coaching
    o Career Transition Training                    o support to engage with relevant internal and
    o Financial Counselling                             external agencies
    o Approved Absence (up to 23 days).             o referral to ESOs, as appropriate.
•    Linkages to internal Defence and           •    Support for ADF members to have access to the
     external agencies, including                    following documentation:
     Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs).               o an individual transition plan
•    Transition information through the             o record of Professional Military Education
     ADF Transition Guide                                and Training
•    On base presence of DVA through the            o Unit posting and employment history
     On-Base Advisory Service (OBAS).               o final payment and leave entitlement
•    Transitioning members receive a form                summaries
     allowing them to opt-in to receiving           o copies of medical and dental records
     contact from DVA or VVCS.
                                                    o ADF Will (if applicable).
                                                •    Comprehensive and plain language ADF
                                                     Member and Family Transition Guide – A
                                                     Practical Manual to
                                                     Transitioning (ref Attachment 2 – ADF Member
                                                     and Family Transition Guide), which also
                                                     details the services available through DVA.
                                                •    Future employment support under CTAS:

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Transition Support as at 2012                  Transition Support as at 2018
                                                    o Job Search Preparation workshops for
                                                         members with less than 18 years’ service.
                                                    o CV Coaching
                                                    o Career Transition Management Coaching
                                                    o Career Transition Training
                                                    o Financial Counselling
                                                    o Approved Absence (up to 23 days).
                                                •    Post transition follow up for 12 months after
                                                     transition through:
                                                    o 30-day follow up phone calls
                                                    o quarterly electronic surveys.
                                                •    Consolidated reporting of transitioned ADF
                                                     members to internal and external agencies to
                                                     support early engagement.
                                                •    Collaboration with Transition Stakeholders
                                                     specifically external Government, ESOs, and
                                                     not-for-profit organisations.
                                                •    Access to the Transition for Employment
                                                     program for ADF members with complex
                                                     medical conditions.
                                                •    Pilot of the ‘Transition Health Assessment’.
                                                •    Continued on base presence of DVA through
                                                     OBAS across more than 40 bases nationally.
                                                •    All transitioning members are registered with
                                                     DVA through the Early Engagement Model and
                                                     automatically provided with a White Card.
                                                •    Transitioned members receive a letter from the
                                                     Secretary of DVA and a brochure about the
                                                     services available through DVA.
                                                •    DVA participates in individual Welfare Boards
                                                     to better coordinate support for medically
                                                     transitioning members.

DVA’s Transformation
15.    DVA’s transformation to meet the current and future needs of all veterans and their
families is of relevance to the inquiry. In the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the Australian Government
provided $166.6 million over four years for transformation. An additional $111.9 million has been
provided in the 2018–19 Budget. In its first year, transformation has improved the ease and speed
with which current and former serving members can submit claims and have liability for
conditions assessed:
16.      MyService - provides DVA clients with a simple and convenient way to lodge an initial
liability compensation claim online, and it also provides free mental health treatment claims, free
needs assessments, and an electronic health card which specifies the conditions it covers.
17.     Straight-Through Processing (STP)- training and service data and information provided
by Defence are used to immediately satisfy DVA’s specified Statements of Principles factors for
certain medical conditions. Where STP applies, claimants do not need to provide information

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about their specific service activities, reducing the time taken by DVA to assess liability. There
are currently 40 conditions that are automatically assessed using STP and streamlining rules.
18.    A key priority for DVA’s transformation is engaging with Defence and a broad range of
veterans to co-design and implement new services and programs.
19.     DVA utilises a variety of engagement methodologies to better understand the experience
of current and potential clients, such as focus groups, one to one interviews and other
collaborative design engagements.
20.    Over the past year, DVA has consulted with over 1,700 veterans about the changes
needed. New engagement fora, such as the Female Veterans and Veterans Families Policy Forum
have been created so that issues can be raised and the Government and DVA can gain a deeper
appreciation of them.
Joint Defence/ DVA Transition Taskforce
21.    The Departments are working together to implement the Government’s 2016 election
commitment Creating a Better Veteran’s Transition Process to Support Veterans’ and their
Families. This commitment included establishing a joint Transition Taskforce to identify barriers
to successful transition and develop recommendations to address those barriers.
22.    The Taskforce is made up of current and former serving ADF members and
representatives from key areas within Defence, DVA and the Commonwealth Superannuation
Corporation (CSC), and representatives from the ex-service community.
23.    The Taskforce engaged with approximately 600 transitioning and recently transitioned
veterans and their families to better understand the transition experience. The Taskforce also
sought the views of ex-service organisations, government stakeholders, and other relevant
professional organisations.
24.     Barriers to successful transition can include a member’s level of control over the decision
to leave military service, their awareness of, and access to, transition-related information and
services, and unpreparedness to manage the differences between the military environment and
civilian life, include loss of identity.
25.     A key barrier identified to a positive transition experience is the importance of a
formalised military farewell and recognition of a member’s service as part of their transition.
Consequently, Defence is strengthening its existing practice by providing a Military Transition
Support Officer (MTSO) to be located in each Transition Centre to appropriately farewell an ADF
member and recognise their involvement within the ADF. Defence’s intent is that in 2018 all ADF
Transition Centres will have access to an MTSO to support and deliver this approach.
The future of transition
47.     Defence and DVA are reviewing the current support services provided to ADF members
and their families both pre and post transition, with a specific focus on family engagement and
civilian employment. The Departments will consider international military transition programs to
leverage insights and innovative practices.
48.     The Departments see significant value in a greater level of partnership with organisations
that can offer opportunities to transitioning and transitioned veterans and their families.
49.     The Departments are investigating opportunities to better prepare ADF members and their
families for transition. For example, having conversations early on in a member’s career about
their personal goals. This would provide a platform to have meaningful and goal based
conversations about personal and professional development.
50.  The Departments recognise that families are a fundamental source of support for the ADF
member and they too are impacted by ADF service and transition.

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51.     Defence and DVA aim to provide an optimal transition experience which ensures tailored
assistance and easy to access support services, meaningful interactions, simplified processes and
person-centric services. The Departments are committed to achieving the best possible outcomes
and will continue their reform efforts to address barriers to an effective transition, and provide
certainty in what is an uncertain time.




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TERM OF REFERENCE 1 - The barriers that prevent ESOs from
effectively engaging with ADF members, the Department of Defence
and Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide more effective
support to ADF personnel as they transition out of Service
1.      Defence and DVA recognise the importance of the services and support provided by
Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs) to ADF members and their families, during service, transition
and in civilian life. Engagement with ESOs is facilitated through a number of individual,
collective and Departmental activities across Defence and DVA.
2.      The Departments work with ESOs using several methods of engagement to provide
effective support to ADF members as they transition.
3.     Some current ADF units and individual ADF members belong to or support ESOs through
formal fund-raising and other support activities. Likewise, many ESOs provide support to units
and ADF members and their families whilst they are still serving.
4.      The 2016 Aspen Foundation report, Ex-Service Organisation Mapping project – Final
Report, mapped the services provided by ESOs and ESO-like organisations. The report highlights
the complexity of the ESO landscape, identifying approximately 2,780 ESO locations around
Australia. The number, location, differing level of skill and services is potentially a barrier to
effective and efficient engagement with the ESO community as a homogenous group.
Defence engagement with ESOs
5.     Defence works hard to build and enhance relationships with ESOs to assist ADF members
and their families throughout their military careers, and help facilitate the transition of ADF
members back into the community.
6.     ADF members and their families are made aware of the services and support available
through ESOs throughout their ADF career via various mechanisms such as regional Welcome
Events, base open days, unit family days, structured briefings and regional level partnerships.
7.     Following are instances where the Departments actively engage with and promote ESOs,
including but not limited to providing information on ESO contact details, programs offered and
the benefits of engaging with ESO advocates.
Engage website – Supporting Those Who Serve
8.      The Engage website (https://engage.forcenet.gov.au/) built and hosted by Defence, was
launched in August 2017 by the Minister for Defence Personnel. Through Engage, current and
former ADF members, their families and/or those involved in their support are able to navigate a
broad range of websites in search of information, support and services from Government agencies,
not-for-profit service providers, ESOs and charities that choose to participate.
9.     Engage simplifies the process of accessing support by providing a common entry point or
‘one-stop shop’ that is electronically accessible from a range of platforms.
10.    Defence encourages ESOs to advertise their employment services for ex-ADF members on
the Engage website by registering as a service provider. ESO service providers are responsible for
maintaining accurate and up-to-date data on the site
11.    As at 19 June 2018, 36 ESOs have registered as a service provider on the Engage website.
ADF Transition Centres
12.   The 13 ADF Transition Centres which are located nationally promote, without prejudice,
ESOs and the services and benefits they provide.

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13.    Details of ESOs and their services are provided to transitioning ADF members and their
families during individual transition coaching sessions and pre and post transition, where there is
an identified need for support services.
14.  ESOs are also encouraged to provide copies of their promotional material to their local
ADF Transition Centre for display and distribution to members.
15.     Many ADF members and their families relocate during or after they transition and ADF
Transition Coaches share information through an internal online library about the different ESOs
and their support services. This ensures that, regardless of where the member and their family will
live after they have left Defence, they have access to information about local ESOs and services.
ADF Transition Seminars
16.    ESO services and support for ADF members are featured at every ADF Transition
Seminars and ESOs are welcome to set up as a stall holder at the trade expo component of the
seminar.
17.  As part of transition support, Defence offers all members the opportunity to undertake an
ADF Transition Seminar at any time in their career and promotes ESO services and support for
ADF members through these seminars and ADF Transition Centres.
18.     Each year Defence conducts 23 two-day Transition Seminars nationally. Attendance at a
Transition Seminar is recommended every five years and in the twelve months prior to leaving
Defence.
19.     Any ADF member, their family or support person, is able to attend a transition seminar
regardless of whether they are transitioning or not. Preference for attendance is given to those who
are leaving for medical reasons and those with an upcoming transition date. ADF members,
families and support persons can attend as many transitions seminars as they feel are necessary
throughout their military career.
20.    Presenters at the transition seminars include representatives from: the ADF Financial
Service Consumer Centre, DVA; Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Services (VVCS);
CSC; ADF Financial Services Consumer Centre; Joint Health Command; ADF Rehabilitation
Program; and Navy, Army and Air Force Reserve Services (ref Attachment 3 – ADF Transition
Seminar Program).
21.     At each seminar, a video overview of ESOs and the general services they provide is
presented. The video presentation provides details of ESOs, including the RSL and Legacy, which
are able to support the member during and after their transition. This video was produced by
Defence to provide consistent messaging of the benefits of ESOs.
22.     To support the seminars, Defence invites ESO and other not-for-profit organisations,
including ESOs that support veterans, as well as organisations contracted to support the ADF, to
participate in the trade expo component of the Transition Seminar for attendees to discuss their
needs and the services available in more depth.
23.     Organisations that regularly participate include ESOs, such as RSL, Soldier On, Legacy,
Women’s Veterans’ Network Australia, Bravery Trust and Mates4Mates. In addition, other
organisations which are important for transitioning ADF members and their families are invited as
exhibitors. These organisations include DVA, VVCS, the CSC, the Department of Human
Services, Defence Housing Australia (DHA), Defence Housing Relocations Directorate, TOLL
Transitions, Defence Community Organisation, Defence Health, and Navy Health. Career
Services consultants who have a formal procurement arrangement with Defence are also able to
participate. State and Territory Governments and their educational institutions (for example,
TAFE) are also able to attend.
24.    Transition Seminars are advertised through ADF Transition Centres; DCO’s Transitions
website at www.defence.gov.au/dco/transition/; the Defence Restricted Network (DRN)
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homepage ‘Spotlight’; social media; Defence Families Australia (DFA); Welcome Day events;
and regionally through appropriate communication channels.
Medical Transition Forums
25.     Since 2016 Defence has been piloting Medical Transition Forums in Brisbane and
Townsville. The forums deliver targeted information to ADF members who are transitioning from
the service for medical reasons. They are delivered in a more flexible and supportive format than
the regular ADF Transition Seminars to accommodate the needs of members with medical
conditions.
26.    Content is more focussed upon services and benefits through DVA and the
Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC). There is also an enhanced focus on the
information and support services delivered by ESOs to members and their families. The pilot will
continue until the end of 2018, with a view to implementation nationally.
27.     Initial feedback from the pilot Forums indicates the format and content delivered are of
benefit to ADF members transitioning for medical reasons.
Soldier Recovery Centres
28.     Soldier Recovery Centres have been established by Army on a number of Defence bases to
support, wounded, injured and ill members. A number of ESOs, including RSL, Mates4Mates and
Soldier On, work in partnership with Defence to deliver programs and information to assist in the
effective rehabilitation or transition of ADF members under the Soldier Recovery Centre banner.
Although established by Army, the Soldier Recovery Centres can if required also support Navy
and Air Force members. Navy also has Personnel Support Units (PSU) around the country that
perform a broad range of functions in support of wounded, injured or ill members.
29.    DVA provides direct support to the SRCs, including hands-on assistance with program
delivery at the Enoggera and Robertson bases.
Ex-Service Organisation social media platforms
30.   Defence promotes ESO events and activities to ADF members and their families through
DCO’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as the DCO website.
31.     Over the last 12 months there was an average of two ESO-related posts per month across
all social media platforms. Posts included events, articles, post-event imagery and video from
shares, re-Tweets and bespoke content (ref Attachment 4 – ESO promotion on DCO Social
Media).
32.  The DCO website also has a calendar of events that includes events and activities for ADF
members and their families. It includes DCO activities and joint events hosted by DCO and ESOs.
33.   Due to the high number of ESOs, not all are listed on the DCO website. However, ADF
members and their families are able to access information about ESOs through the Defence
Engage website (https://engage.forcenet.gov.au/). DCO will continue to support awareness of
ESOs through social media and the DCO website.
34.    Defence looks forward to continuing to partner and spotlight ESOs, and highlight the
support they provide for ADF members and their families.
DVA engagement with ESOs
35.      DVA formally engages with a range of ESOs through national, state and territory forums
under the National Consultation Framework. This formal consultative framework is designed to
facilitate effective communication between the veteran and ex-service community and DVA and
includes the Ex-Service Organisation Round Table, the Younger Veterans - Contemporary Needs
Forum, the National Aged and Community Care Forum, and the Female Veterans and the


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