In­jured ‘ fall­ing through the cracks’

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LY­DIA KELLNER

IRAQ war vet­eran An­gus Sim has launched a na­tional Vet­er­ans Re­port Card on the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs and is en­cour­ag­ing for­mer and cur­rent serv­ing mem­bers to have their say.

The change. org sur­vey has al­ready at­tracted close to 600 re­spon­dents with the re­sults to be re­leased to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment later in the year.

Mr Sim, who served in both East Ti­mor and Iraq, said too many in­jured vet­er­ans were fall­ing through the cracks within the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs which, he al­leged, did not pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port to those suf­fer­ing from men­tal and phys­i­cal in­juries.

“I have and con­tinue to suf­fer from post- trau­matic stress dis­or­der and will not stand by any longer watch­ing my mates suf­fer like this,’’ Mr Sim said.

“There are too many who have nowhere to go, de­spite se­ri­ous in­ci­dents of self- harm and sui­cides. The tip­ping point for me was when I had to take time off work due to my ac­cepted con­di­tion and the DVA took three months to put me back on In­ca­pac­ity ( In­cap) pay­ments.

“They had bun­gled an in­ter­nal in­quiry into my con­di­tion which only made my con­di­tion worse.

“All I needed was some time off to get my sleep­ing is­sues un­der con­trol.”

Mr Sim said his sur­vey showed his ex­pe­ri­ence had clearly been repli­cated with many other vet­er­ans and that it had to stop.

“If the Min­is­ter’s of­fice shows such cal­lous dis­re­gard to­wards a vet­eran who is ab­so­lutely des­per­ate for help, it is sim­ply ridicu­lous to ex­pect that his depart­ment would be any dif­fer­ent,’’ he said.

“The tragedy here is that there are far too many sto­ries of vet­er­ans be­ing mis­man­aged and writ­ten off.

“DVA must think we are all mugs. My DVACS sur­vey will be re­leased in to­tal: all ques­tions and all re­sults, then vet­er­ans and the public can draw their own con­clu­sions about DVA, its se­crecy and its level of ser­vice to vet­er­ans. This isn’t just about ex­pos­ing the am­biva­lence and in­com­pe­tence of the DVA, rather it is about sav­ing the lives of and pro­vid­ing ap­pro­pri­ate wel­fare for our vet­er­ans.”

An­gus Sim.

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