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Defence White Paper includes more support for families and veterans
Cpl Nick Wiseman
DEPENDENTS of permanent and
continuous full-time service ADF
members will gain access to basic
healthcare under plans outlined
in the 2013 Defence White Paper,
released in Canberra on May 3.
The Government announced the
current health trial for ADF families
in remote and regional areas would
end on December 31 and basic med-
ical and dental care arrangements
would be made available to all ADF
dependents on January 1, 2014.
The White Paper also reaffirmed
plans to acquire up to 2700 protect-
ed and unprotected trucks under the
next phase of Land 121, the future
of Australia's mission in Afghanistan
and the Army restructure under Plan
Defence Minister Stephen Smith
said substantial work had been
done on the reorientation and reor-
ganisation of the Army under Plan
"It will give us three multi-
role [brigades] located in Darwin,
Townsville and Brisbane," he said.
"This is a significant reshaping of
the modern Army."
Subject to satisfactory comple-
tion of all final issues and formal
Government approval processes,
Defence will acquire up to 2700 pro-
tected and unprotected trucks from
Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles
Australia and trailers from Haulmark
The vehicles will accompany the
acquisition of about 2150 Mercedes
Benz G-Wagons, 600 of which have
already been delivered.
Support to ADF personnel will
be enhanced with the announcement
of a $25.3 million package targeting
mental health programs.
Mr Smith said Australia had not
seen this many soldiers returning
from operations since Vietnam.
"We will see as we draw down
from Afghanistan in the coming
years and decades a larger number of
returned service personnel," he said.
"We need to do as a govern-
ment, as a defence force, community
and as a nation everything we can
to ensure our wounded warriors are
cared for and respected.
"Not just those who suffer from
physical wounds but those who suf-
fer from mental wounds like PTSD."
The package will include extend-
ing the Veterans and Veterans
Families Counselling Service cov-
erage to a number of personnel not
Other changes include extend-
ing mental health cover depending
on service, implementing post-dis-
charge health assessments and addi-
tional funding for further programs.
Mr Smith said there would be
no further reductions to the Defence
The Government will provide
an additional small real increase in
Defence funding over the Forward
THE 2013 White Paper addresses a range
of significant international and domestic
developments since 2009.
The Government will implement plans for
enhancing amphibious mounting base capac-
ity in Darwin and Townsville.
The disposition changes to 1 Bde in
Darwin and 7 Bde in Brisbane will also be
implemented, and 6 Bde will be consolidated
in south-east Queensland as opportunities
arise and funding permits.
At least 1000 ADF personnel will return
home, while civilian agencies in Uruzgan will
also draw down towards the end of 2013,
moving to a nationally focused effort.
In 2014, the ADF will focus on a train-
ing role at the Afghan National Army Officer
Academy in Kabul with British and New
In Kandahar, the ADF will continue to pro-
vide training assistance to the 205 Corps of
the Afghan National Army.
Post-2014, Australia is prepared to con-
tribute to the train, advise and assist mission
for the Afghan National Security Forces by
continuing to provide embedded HQ staff,
advisers at the corps level and trainers at the
ANA Officer Academy in Kabul.
The acquisition of new medium and heavy
trucks, trailers and associated modules to
replace Army's ageing field vehicle and trailer
fleet will occur under project Land 121.
Defence will acquire up to 2700 protected
and unprotected trucks from Rheinmetall
MAN Military Vehicles Australia and trailers
from Haulmark Trailers Australia.
About 1000 additional vehicles will even-
tually be acquired to complete the medium
and heavy fleet under Land 121 Phase 5B.
ASLAVs and M113s will be replaced over
time as part of project Land 400, Army's
future combat vehicle project.
Plan Beersheba will restructure the Army
into three similar multi-role combat brigades
to provide the widest range of sustained and
effective land forces possible to meet future
The new Landing Helicopter Dock ships
represent a fundamental shift in how Army
will deploy land forces and conduct opera-
tions in response to the full spectrum of sce-
narios in the future.
An armoured cavalry regiment will
be established in each of Army's combat
brigades to ensure they can operate as
combined arms teams against the threats
anticipated in the future.
The Defence Signals Directorate and
the Defence Imagery and Geospatial
Organisation will be renamed the Australian
Signals Directorate and the Australian
Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation to more
accurately reflect their national roles.
The renaming of the agencies will see
no change to the current functions, powers
or accountability responsibilities under the
Intelligence Services Act 2001. Both agen-
cies remain in the Department of Defence.
AT A GLANCE
AN ADDITIONAL $25.3 million will be
provided for enhanced mental health
Extending the Veterans and Veterans
Families Counselling Service cover-
age to a number of serving and for-
mer personnel not currently eligible,
including border protection personnel,
disaster zone personnel, personnel
involved in training accidents, ADF
members medically discharged and
submariners, partners and dependent
children up to the age of 26 of these
high risk peacetime groups and fami-
lies of veterans killed in operational
Extending mental health non-liability
health cover to include access for for-
mer ADF members with three years'
continuous peacetime service after
1994 and expansion of current condi-
tions of PTSD, depression and other
anxiety disorders to also include alco-
hol and substance misuse disorders
Implementing a post discharge GP
health assessment, using a specially
developed screening tool, for former
ADF members, including regular and
Additional funding for the Defence
resilience platform, LifeSMART
(Stress Management and Resilience
Training) for veterans and families.
Additional modules may include anger
management, substance misuse,
depression, anxiety, grief and loss.
Developing and maintaining a Peer-
to-Peer Support program to support
the recovery of veterans with a mental
health condition by providing a non-
clinical support network.
Additional funding for improving
processing time for compensation
claims by serving personnel and
Additional assistance for veterans
and current serving personnel mak-
ing claims for injury.
All dependants of permanent ADF
members and dependants of reserve
members on continuous full-time
service will receive healthcare
arrangements for the provision of
basic medical and dental care from
The current trial of these arrange-
ments for Defence families living in
remote and regional locations will
continue until December 31 until the
full program begins.
HEALTH AND FAMILY SUPPORT INITIATIVES
The way ahead:
Prime Minister Julia
initiatives under the
2013 Defence White
Paper at the official
launch in Canberra on
Photo by Cpl Guy Young
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