Injured ‘ falling through the cracks’
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.”