Chairperson’s foreword

Chairperson's foreword from Greg Yorke.

Commodore Greg Yorke, AM, CSC

As Chair of the Victorian Veterans Council (VVC), I am delighted to present our annual report for 2022–23. This was a special year as we reconnected in person with the veterans community after the COVID-19 pandemic. This in-person interaction allowed for a truly rewarding year of engagement with our diverse and inspiring community.

We take great pride in being a voice for veterans in Victoria, advocating for them and their families’ needs and wellbeing. To do this, we welcome and appreciate input from the veteran community and are committed to working with you.

Bringing the sector together

Last August we held the ESO Summit in Melbourne. This event was a highlight of the year, with more than 250 people attending in person and online. This included representatives from veteran organisations, support groups and small businesses. We discussed ways to help veterans and their families in Victoria. The summit also helped ex-service organisations form new partnerships and connections to deliver better services. 

I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend the RSL National ESO forums in Canberra and Sydney to further engage with ex-service organisations from across Australia. These forums provided me with critical insight into issues facing veterans and their families across Australia and how we as an independent voice to government can advocate for them. 

In 2022 the VVC engaged a consultant to undertake a study of the Victorian veteran sector. The VVC thoughtfully considered the findings and the study has been presented to the Minister for Veterans with our recommendations. The study has already helped shape our work and we look forward to the Minister’s feedback on the report, and to sharing the findings. This year, we have also been busy drafting the VVC’s first engagement strategy. The strategy aims to capture how the VVC will engage with the Victorian veteran sector. We are keen to hear from you on this and will reach out in the coming months to get your input on the strategy and working with the VVC. 

Support for veterans

The Veterans Card – Victoria has been warmly welcomed by the VVC as the first of its kind in Australia. The card is an important step forward to recognising all veterans regardless of the length or type of their service. The VVC recognises and appreciates the hard work of everyone who contributed to deliver this important work.

In line with our commitment to supporting veteran communities, the VVC has continued to support many veteran organisations and groups through the Victoria Remembers and the ANZAC Day Proceeds Fund grant programs.

These grants have a powerful impact on people’s lives. Through 48 projects across both programs, they have delivered more than $1,132,700 of support.


The VVC acknowledges the hard work of all those who contributed to commemorations across Victoria over the past year, including Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day.

In April I was honoured to MC the 2023 Premier’s Anniversary of Anzac Day State Luncheon. It was truly remarkable to welcome more than 250 members of the veteran community to come together for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. We came together to commemorate ANZAC Day and those who have served our country. It was also great to hear from VVC member Brett West as the guest speaker. 

On 18 August we marked the 50th anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. We remember the 60,000 Australian personnel who served in Vietnam, including the 523 lives lost, and some 3,000 wounded.

We welcome the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Commemorative Medallion and Certificate of Commemoration project. These recognise the service of veterans of the Vietnam War who were previously not acknowledged.

In July 2023 we also commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. We honour the more than 17,000 Australians who served in the conflict and thank them and their families for their service and sacrifice. 

Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

In August 2023 the Royal Commission and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing hosted several engagement sessions across Melbourne ahead of Hearing Block 11.

I had the privilege of being the facilitator for the Commission’s roundtable event. The event saw more than 25 veterans and ex-service organisation representatives come together to hear from the Commissioner’s and discuss key issues facing Victorian veterans. 

The VVC offers its deepest gratitude to those who have made a submission to the Royal Commission.

We welcomed then Premier Daniel Andrews as Victoria’s main witness and look forward to working closely with the Victorian Government to respond to the recommendations of the final report when it is released.

A voice for veterans

For their service and dedication to the VVC, I thank the outgoing members whose terms ended during the year – Anita Hogan and Glen Ferrarotto.

I would also like to welcome our incoming members, Simon Thorn and Brett West – I look forward to continuing to work with them in supporting Victoria’s veteran and ex-service community.

Thank you also to those who have provided their insights and learnings to the VVC throughout the year. These include Andrew Condon CSC, Major General David McLachlan AO AO (Mil) (Retd), Ray Cadmore, Ben Webb and Annabelle Wilson. 

I thank the Minister for Veterans, the Hon Natalie Suleyman MP, for her unwavering commitment to supporting Victoria’s ex-service community and for her support to the VVC. The VVC is also grateful for the support of the government’s hard-working Office for Veterans within the Department of Fairness, Families and Housing.

Thank you for being part of our journey. We look forward to another year of supporting and honouring our veterans and their families.