The NSW government is conducting a community consultation to help understand the issues facing veterans and their families, starting with an online survey.
Acting Minister for Veterans Geoff Lee said consultation would help shape the first NSW Veterans Strategy.
“Consultation through the survey and statewide forums will give the veterans community the chance to share their views on the issues they are facing and the services that will best support them,” Mr Lee said.
“The fresh knowledge we will gain from this survey will help give the NSW government a new informed platform to target key concerns around services like health and wellbeing, employment, education and recognition.
“It is essential the strategy reflects the lives and current needs of our veteran community.
I encourage veterans and their families, friends, ex-service organisations and those involved in providing veterans’ services to participate in the survey.”
The strategy aims to improve existing NSW government services and identify new programs to support veterans and their families.
“The modern veteran community is diverse and their needs after they leave the Defence Force are wide-ranging,” Mr Lee said.
“1200 veterans transition out of the Defence Force into NSW every year and we must do everything in our power to support our veterans after their service.”
Bronte Pollard, who served in the Royal Australian Navy for nine years welcomed the strategy.
“I think it is fantastic for NSW to have its own plan as this will ensure state based programs and initiatives respond to veterans’ needs,” Mr Pollard said.
The survey will be open until Friday 17 July 2020. To participate in the survey visit: www.veterans.nsw.gov.au/survey
EDITOR’S NOTE: I completed the above survey – but I don’t feel better for the effort, and fail to see how it could be all that helpful to the government.
For example, one question asks about income. My ‘pick-a-range’ answer put me somewhere between $10,000 and $39,999 per annum. In my humble opinion, that size range is so wide as to have a massive impact on my (or anybody’s) wellbeing, depending on which end of that range I’m sitting in. Also, that same question asked about my income, and there was no supplementary about household or spousal income – so I feel that question was pretty pointless.
Another silly question (in my humble opinion) is about age, where I had to choose 55-64. Now the government doesn’t know (from supplementary questions) if my current unemployment is retirement-age related – or if an older respondent is still working beyond retirement age.
Other questions were simply wrong in the asking. For example, “Are you aware of the following concessions available to veterans in NSW?” – followed by a list of concessions only available to veterans who have a Gold Card with TPI endorsement. Which reminds me – other questions that should have been asked, were not – for example, “are you a gold-card/white-card holder?”
Many other questions felt pretty pointless too, because answers to earlier questions made them so.
Overall, I thought it was a pretty lame survey, poorly considered.
I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts after completing this survey.
Do you agree with my assessment – or am I barking up the wrong waratah?
All that aside, it bemuses me that the states have a Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, additional to the federal portfolio. In fact, I only realised there was such a thing less than three years ago (after 30 years in ADF).