Sad day Rammers,
I have been forced into the position to have to CANCEL our 107 Battery Assn R20 Townsville Reunion. The venue cancellations and restrictions that have been and likely will be further tightened before 23 April, will make a six-day Reunion gathering of 60 ageing Rammers and partners an unacceptable risk and unworkable.

Warren and I made the sad decision earlier today.

Over the last three days, number of those fully registered and paid, have advised they need to cancel on medical advice and personal reasons. I totally support their decisions. Chris & I, on advice of our respective GPs yesterday, are among those.

There are a small number who plan to attend Townsville over the Anzac week. I also accept their decision and their varying reasons.

I am negotiation for the Herbert Hotel to provide some gathering capability, with each attending as individuals under whatever restrictions on numbers may be by then. With our Committee’s approval and if those still visiting Townsville over this time so wish, I will arrange for whatever part of the $1,000 allocated by the Committee to me for local bus hire and is not yet committed and not refunded, to be available for food and bar services at the Herbert, to be used as we subsequently decide.

Rammer, Paddy Durnford has offered to assist with small scale visits to the Regimental Museum. The Regiment and BK 107 Battery (acting BC at this time), has offered to assist with the visit of small groups, under whatever restrictions are in force by Anzac week. So if planning to attend Townsville over Anzac week, please keep me informed so I can ensure you are in the information loop.

Full refund is available. A number have indicated that they would like their R20 payments to be credited to the Association’s general account. The Committee appreciates their generosity.

Due to the significant effort involved in refunds, I will credit each member’s account with all R20 payments made to date. Later, when less time stressed, I will talk with each and you elect your preferred refund method and appropriate account details.
This decision has been made after two weeks careful consideration and much personal distress. Over the last 16 years I have, with the assistance of local Rammers, gained much enjoyment in arranging a number of very successful gatherings. I was a driving force for the official formation of the Black Sheep Association which resulted in Tweed 2004, Townsville 2005, Adelaide and Meredith 2006, Werribee and Batemans Bay 2007, Sydney 2008, Hobart 2009, Townsville 2010 including the publication of our Book, Mildura 2012, Darwin 2014, Canberra 2015, Malaysia 2017 (with great acknowledgment to Jon Eaton) and finally Seymour & Phillip Island 2019. With Wendy Grant’s (nee Wright) driving force, look forward to Reunion Vietnam Anzac fortnight 2021.

I advised after a number of the above Reunions, that the next was my last. I must sadly confirm that Reunion Townsville 2020 is my last Reunion that I can organise. The effort, while younger, was enjoyable. But now, closer to 75 than 70, I find the stress and worry taking its toll. But should anyone from the younger generation of Rammers wish to step-up, I would gladly give my support and expertise than I have gained over the last sixteen years.
I will remain as Secretary and Treasurer of our Association, until someone would like to take over.

My work in DVA Advocacy, extending back over 35 years, has become my priority. There are so many younger Veterans who need assistance. And so few qualified ATDP (DVA Advocacy Training and Development Program) to provide the advice and guidance to get them through the minefield of the DVA legislation and procedures.

On a personal note, this week Chris & I moved into what we expect will be our final earthly residence: LDK Greenway Views at Tuggeranong. We have an independent living two-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor (yes there are two lifts per building), in a brand new large facility described as a land based cruise ship. Our current and future Aged Care and DVA entitlements can be delivered to us without the need to ever move again. With five months of couch surfing after selling our Canberra home of 22 years behind us, we now feel particularly comfortable and pleased with our timing

As usual, comments and criticisms on this decision and any aspect of the Black Sheep Association administration are always welcome and may even be enacted.

Regards Hilton


New Veterans Card.
Below is the latest release from DVA concerning the Veterans' Covenant? Many will have received this direct. If you have not, then it may be that you are not registered with DVA and hold a White or Gold card.
If you are not registered, then go to;
https://my.gov.au/LoginServices/main/login?execution=e1s1
Follow the directions to register for a DVA My Gov account.
To register all you require is ONE DAY or more regular ADF service.
Once registered with a MY Gov account you can apply for the Veteran Card.
If you have a White or Gold Card, you are already registered and your reissue Veteran Card and Veteran pin will follow is due course in line with the standard reissue of your card.
With your existing White/Gold card or when you receive your new first Veteran Card, you can then apply for an APOD account as outlined below. APOD is not new, it has been around for many years, providing discount facilities to serving and ex-serving members. It has been elected by DVA as the official organisation to administer the Veterans discount system.
If you have recently received an email from APOD, then you are already a member and just need to upgrade your membership.
There is NO CHARGE to join APOD and use their discount facilities.
More details can be found at https://recognition.dva.gov.au/
In Army news can you delete the February 21 edition and replace it with Edition 1456 November 2019.
Delete Pension Rates as of 20th March and replace it with “New Pension Rates as of 20th September 2019 can be found at”.

https://www.dva.gov.au/factsheet-is30-pension-rates-limits-and-allowances-summary




DVA News
New Veterans Card Press Release
Start of Press Release:
Recognising and Respecting our Veterans– DVA media release 27 October 2018
Veterans and their families are at the centre of a fresh package of initiatives from our Government to recognise their vital role and service to Australia. We understand the home front is just as important as the front line. Our Government will develop an Australian Veterans’ Covenant that will be enacted in legislation, so the nation can recognise the unique nature of military service and support veterans and their families. Like the United Kingdom Armed Forces Covenant, the Australian Veterans’ Covenant is for the Australian community to recognise the service and sacrifice of the men and women who commit to defend the nation and pledge their commitment to support veterans and their families. As part of this Veterans’ Covenant, a new Australian Veterans’ Card and an Australian Veterans’ Lapel Pin will make it easier for all Australians to recognise and respect the unique contribution that veterans have made to Australia and for our veterans to reconnect with others who have served. As we have seen throughout the Invictus Games and in the lead up to the Centenary of Armistice, Australians want to acknowledge and show respect for our veterans who have given so much in their service. Businesses, government and community organisations can also play their part in recognising and respecting those who have served. The card and the pin can help these organisations identify veterans when they aren’t wearing their uniform or medals, so they can offer discounts and extra support.

The new Card and Lapel Pin will for the first time enable everyone across the nation to recognise and acknowledge the unique nature of military service and support the more than 300,000 veterans in Australia and their families. The Prime Minister will be writing to businesses and communities to urge them to recognise the service of our veterans. In addition to the record $11.2 billion annual support our government delivers for veterans and their families, we will invest $11.1 million in these measures to deliver a national approach to recognise veterans and will further consult defence and veterans’ communities in coming weeks. We will also deliver $6.7 million to develop the Soldier-On Fussell House accommodation facility to be co-located at the Concord Repatriation Hospital in Sydney that the NSW Government is investing more than $340 million to rebuild. This includes the National Centre for Veterans Health – an Australian first, state of the art centre for specialised health care for veterans. Named for Lieutenant Michael Fussell who was (Ed: he was an Artillery Forward Observer with 2 Commando Regiment – formally 4RAR) serving with the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan when he was killed in action by an Improvised Explosive Device detonation, the facility will house up to 40 veterans and their families at a time and will especially benefit those from regional and rural areas when veterans are getting treatment.

The Government will also invest $7.6 million for the Kookaburra Kids Defence Program to boost their targeted support to children of ex-serving defence force members who are experiencing mental health issues due to their service. The Kookaburra Kids Defence Program was first supported by our government with a $2.1 million injection in a pilot program in NSW, the ACT, Queensland and the NT for 569 children, and this extra investment will see the program expand into Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia for 1,750 children.

As a country we can always do more to recognise and back in our veterans. The government is committed to setting Australia up to support the veterans of today and tomorrow.
(Ed: the Defence Force Welfare Association and other ESO's have for the past decade been fighting for the Military Covenant. The Government and Opposition have finally accepted the concept, albeit with the word Defence changed to Veteran. However, despite the definitions of Veteran in the two DVA Acts (VEA & MRCA), DVA now defines the word Veteran to mean and Serviceperson who has completed at least one (yes one) day service in the permanent Australian Defence Force. Your Watercart Operator has no issues with this definition)

Press Release Ends

Current Pension Rates:
https://www.dva.gov.au/financial-support/payment-rates/summary-pension-rates-limits-and-allowances