Defence Families of Australia E-NEWS June 2016

Defence Families of Australia recently changed its mission to ‘Advocating for defence families’ as we are doing more than providing a voice; we are working for change on issues that you have identified as important.

And we’ve been doing it for 30 years!

If you have contacted us to advocate for you individually, you will have seen that work at the very personal level. Otherwise that work often happens behind the scenes, talking with all layers of Defence and stakeholders to explore issues and solutions.

You may also have noticed a more simplified DFA website and we are gradually changing our banners and promotional material that you will see at events. DFA recognises that families come in all different shapes and sizes and we want to make sure that any family member feels comfortable approaching us. 

Celebrating 30 Years of DFA

To celebrate 30 years of Defence Families of Australia advocating for our ADF families, we are holding a competition to design a badge that celebrates and acknowledges what it means to support a member of our ADF; Serving Australia through the ADF is challenging, demanding and rewarding, yet not without risk.

In supporting this service our Defence families can be proud, worried, adaptable, longing, strong, sad and capable. DFA knows that our family members are parents, children of all ages, partners of all ages and sexual orientation, siblings and extended family, and ADF members themselves.

The competition runs until 10 July. See DFA’s website for the full competition terms and conditions.

DFA seeks a design that embodies this diversity of relationships and the uniqueness of the support they provide, that can be proudly worn by all ADF family members at any time of the year. 

Have your say….

We are coming up to our Conference Week and busiest time of the year for national advocacy and we want you to be involved. From August 22-26 all 11 DFA Executive Committee Members will meet key representatives within Defence, and stakeholders such as DHA and Toll to forward issues that are important to ADF families and explore solutions. This week includes a private dinner with each Service Chief, the VCDF and the CDF, and their partners. DFA’s knows what a privilege it is to have this kind of access and we think very carefully and strategically about the issues we raise in this forum.

DFA’s National Delegates are holding meetings around the country until the end of June to give you the opportunity to have your say. In addition to concerns we are very interested to hear success stories in your region, or your ideas for improvement. If you can’t meet your local National Delegate, please email them at the address below.     

We look forward to hearing from you around the country in the lead-up to this year’s Conference Week as DFA proudly continues to be your advocates. 

DFA Working For You

DFA recently completed its most comprehensive piece of national advocacy work to-date. After speaking with several overseas military family support agencies, the scope of the ADF Family Support Project was expanded beyond deployment support to the policy and philosophy behind all family support in Australia. DFA has recommended that the Australian Defence family support policy be reviewed to reflect the necessity of psycho-social education and systems which foster Defence family members supporting each other to promote family readiness. DFA also believes family members need to be acknowledged in policy as stakeholders in their own wellbeing.

We know from our research for the ADF Family Support Project that in order for Defence family members to optimise their ability to thrive during an absence from home, they need the following in their ‘tool kit’:

a. Families are planned and prepared.

b. They know the resources available to them.

c. They are connected to others.

DFA believes a strong Defence family community should be fostered for every day of the year so when an event that requires extra support, such as a deployment happens, a foundation of support is already there. DFA’s vision is to see this strong family community thriving in every Defence location. We understand that family members will want to interact with their Defence community at varying levels, but we need to strive for a consistent minimum across our country. 

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