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Army March 15, 2012
Cpl Mark Doran
DEFENCE families were among the
guests at the official opening for the
Defence Community Organisation
(DCO) Headquarters in Deakin,
Canberra, on February 29.
Defence Science and Personnel
Minister Warren Snowdon officially
opened the building, collocating DCO
Canberra and the Canberra ADF
DCO Director General Michael
Callan said the opening was an important
day in the organisation's 16-year history.
"It is the culmination of four years of
hard work to strengthen DCO's capabil-
ity and focus our services where they are
most needed," Mr Callan said.
"In December 2007, my vision was to
develop a high-performing organisation,
well respected and able to respond to the
emerging issues of Defence families.
"Since then DCO has been develop-
ing an integrated service delivery model,
where Defence families receive services
based on best practice, good governance
and measured performance consistently
delivered across the nation regardless of
"This approach is underpinned by a
self-reliance strategy designed to build
the capacity of the Defence community.
"DCO's mantra is 'strong families,
strong communities, strong Defence'."
The services provided by DCO
include support for partners' education
and employment, help with childcare,
financial support for Defence community
groups, support to families during crisis
and emergency, and education support
During the ceremony, CDF Gen
David Hurley re-signed the ADF Family
Covenant on behalf of Defence and said
members of the ADF could not do their
jobs without the help and support of their
families and loved ones.
"The ADF Family Covenant articu-
lates how highly Defence values the
significant and irreplaceable contribu-
tion families make to the operational
effectiveness of our Defence force," Gen
"However, it's not just a statement of
acknowledgement and thanks to our fam-
ilies. The covenant is a commitment from
Defence to work with Defence families,
and to consult with them, to listen to their
concerns and to do whatever we can to
help them balance the demands of ser-
vice life with the needs of the family."
The final part of the official ceremony
was the formal introduction of the CDF's
wife, Linda Hurley, as the Patron of the
Defence Community Organisation.
Cpl Mark Doran
ASSISTANCE for families is now
available 24 hours a day with the
launch of the Defence Family Helpline.
The helpline, which is staffed by
human services professionals including
social workers and psychologists, was
officially opened by Defence Science
and Personnel Minister Warren Snowdon
on February 29.
It offers referrals, information and
advice on deployments and postings,
childcare, community support programs,
employment and education assistance,
crisis and emergency support and help
for members leaving the ADF.
Mr Snowdon said the Defence
Family Helpline was part of Defence's
commitment to improving the strength
and resilience of families.
"The helpline will also offer assis-
tance at the most critical times of all -- in
emergencies," Mr Snowdon said.
"It's good to know that when your
partner's deployed and the worst hap-
pens at home, help is just a phone call
DCO Director of Operations Cathy
Davis said the helpline was already
receiving a range of calls both domesti-
cally and from members deployed over-
"An advantage of the helpline is it
is also centralises the intake system for
DCO, which gives us a good oversight
of the range of issues members and their
families are facing, Ms Davis said.
"On our first official day of operation
we had 56 phone calls and received seven
official requests for DCO support. And I
received four phone calls overnight."
The helpline can be called on 1800 624 608 or
emailed at DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au
or visit www.defence.gov.au/dco for information
on the range of support services provided to fami-
lies of ADF members.
Boost to family support
combines services Community spirit: Samantha Murray and her daughters Lauren and Zara meet CDF Gen David Hurley
and his wife, Linda, at the official opening of the Defence Family Helpline and the Defence Community
Photo by Cpl Mark Doran
New helpline receives first phone calls within hours of launch
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