Highlights of the year

Lists highlights of the year.

Engagement with the ex-service community

Throughout the year, the VVC continued to engage with ex-service organisations and the veteran community including regular updates from ex-service organisations, such as the Returned & Services League of Australia (Victorian Branch) (RSL Victoria) and Melbourne Legacy, through its representatives on the VVC.

The VVC met with stakeholders, including Vasey RSL Care, the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Carry On and many others. The VVC Chair and members also attended Department of Veterans’ Affairs and RSL Victoria ESO forums.

Mr Bruce Mildenhall attended and presented scholarships for the Australian Nurses Memorial Centre, which the VVC supports as a patriotic fund trustee.

Victorian Veterans Sector Study 2022

On the request of the Minister for Veterans, the VVC commissioned its third Victorian Veterans Sector Study in 2022, following on from previous studies in 2008 and 2015. After much consideration, this study was to focus on veteran housing and homelessness, mental health and suicide, employment and education, and the impact of COVID-19 on the veteran sector and the organisations supporting our ex-service community.

Throughout 2021–22, VVC Chairs Roger Clifton and Greg Yorke, and VVC member Mr Bruce Mildenhall worked closely with Grosvenor Performance Group, with support from the Office for Veterans, to progress and oversee the study. In the 2022–23 year, the VVC will consider the findings of the study.

Planning for the ESO Summit 2022

Held on 6 August 2022, the inaugural ESO Summit was the result of sustained effort during the 2021–22 year to promote collaboration and cooperation between the organisations that support Victoria’s veteran community. High-level planning in 2021 continued in 2022, with members Mr John McNeill, Mr Glen Ferrarotto, Ms Lucy Saaroni and VVC Chair Greg Yorke representing the VVC in fortnightly working group meetings. The VVC also considered matters relating to the ESO Summit during its regular meetings.

VVC members actively promoted the ESO Summit to the Victorian ex-service community, resulting in a well-attended forum with 250 people participating in-person and online. Under the theme ‘participate, discover, connect’, the ESO Summit featured keynote speakers, masterclasses, information sessions, showcases and panel discussions.

Commemoration and ANZAC Day services

The VVC supports ANZAC Day and other commemorations and events in local communities through the provision of funding from the Victorian Veterans Fund. This funding is distributed under the Victoria Remembers Grant Program.

This year, VVC members attended ANZAC Day services across Victoria, including Cohuna, Macedon, Melbourne and others.

Victoria Remembers Grant Program highlights

The VVC, through the Victoria Remembers Grant Program, is proud to support community projects that promote a better understanding of the service and sacrifice of Victoria’s veterans in war and peacekeeping operations. It also commemorates those who have died in the performance of service or duty. A complete list of awarded grants is available in the Victorian Veterans Fund section.

Some recent initiatives and activities supported through the grant program include the Immortals project, the memorial wall mural in Cohuna and the Angels of War exhibition at RMIT University.

Immortals – Bendigo District RSL Sub-Branch Inc

This project is an exhibition of a portrait study of Digger Memorials in Victoria by artist Clayton Tremlett. It received $21,758 in funding through the Victoria Remembers Grant Program in 2019–20. It was exhibited at the Bendigo Soldier’s Memorial Institute from its official opening on 30 April 2022, which the VVC Chair attended, to 31 July 2022.

Memorial wall mural, Cohuna-Leitchville RSL Sub-Branch

The Victoria Remembers Grant Program awarded $9,313.64 in funding to the Cohuna-Leitchville RSL Sub-Branch in 2021–22 to create a commemorative mural adjacent to the RSL Memorial Gardens. The mural reflects the service of those not directly involved in conflict. The mural was officially opened on ANZAC Day 2022. VVC member Lucy Saaroni attended and spoke at the service in Cohuna.

Angels of War exhibition, RMIT University

The Victoria Remembers Grant Program awarded RMIT University $18,740 in funding in 2020–21 to mount the Angels of War: Remembering Australian Army Nurses exhibition at Federation Square from 22-24 July 2022.

ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund Grant Program highlights

Through the ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund Grant Program, the VVC is proud to support the welfare activities of Victoria’s ESOs. A complete list of grants awarded in 2021–22 is available in the ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund section.

Some of the recent initiatives and activities supported by the VVC in 2021–22 include:

  • Guitars for Vets Australia (G4VA) – was awarded $16,500 to support G4VA’s program to provide guitar lessons and instruments to Australian veterans experiencing the challenges of stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Assistance Dogs Australia – PTSD Dog Support – was granted $10,560 to directly support ongoing costs associated with PTSD assistance dogs to support the dogs’ health and wellbeing, covering veterinarian treatment, food, insurance and annual public access tests
  • Bravery Trust Financial Wellness (FinWell) Program – was granted $45,500 to support FinWell, the Bravery Trust’s veteran-specific, financial-counselling program.