THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Member for Lingiari
Thursday 6 June 2013
REACHING OUT TO ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has teamed up with the Canberra Raiders NRL Club to help spread the word about the services and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ex-Service men and women can access following their service.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today launched the Indigenous Champion Project and said the initiative is a positive step to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service personnel get the recognition they deserve.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women have proudly served our country with great distinction in war, conflict and peacekeeping operations, since before Federation through to present day.
“Unfortunately there is no definitive record of those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served their country, and as a result there may be current and former serving members who are unaware of the support available to them from DVA,” he said.
The Canberra Raiders had five representatives in the Indigenous All Stars team in 2013 and have a long and proud history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players in their ranks.
“By having these players as Champions we want to spread the word about the proud history of Indigenous service and getting that service recognised. They will also be encouraging anyone who thinks they may be eligible to receive support from DVA to come forward,” Mr Snowdon said.
Mr Snowdon met with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players from the Raiders today after they attended an information session at the Australian War Memorial.
Australian War Memorial Director, Brendan Nelson has encouraged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to also share their stories with Australian War Memorial to ensure their service and sacrifice is recognised and preserved for future generations.
“The Memorial has long recognised the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women in the Australian experience of war. We are committed to commemorating their service, telling their stories, and remembering their contribution to the nation,” Dr Nelson said.
For more information about the services and support available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans visit www.dva.gov.au/indigenous or call DVA on 133 254 or 1800 555 254 from regional Australia.
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Canberra Raiders participants in the Indigenous Champions project