Advocating for Defence families

The First Five Years as an ADF Partner: Air Force

Over the month of March 2020 DFA is hosting a First Five Years webinar for families of each of the three Services.

We’ve asked the Deputy Service Chiefs to talk about what to expect from a Services perspective such as how much the member will be away and in what locations. And we’ve asked the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) and the Chaplains to share top tips for keeping a relationship strong in these circumstances.

This post is a summary of the RAAF webinar held Monday 2 March 2020

This webinar was aimed at RAAF partners, however there is a lot in this for other service partners as well.

The webinar was hosted by our National Convenor, Maree Sirois.

Recording is here

Please provide feedback here with a short evaluation

Summary of webinar

1 min 19 sec

ADF Head of People Capability
Major General Natasha Fox

Natasha provided a short introduction to the webinar.

2 min 43 sec

Deputy Chief of Air Force
Air Vice Marshal Stephen Meredith

Key points

Please visit the Air Force website for further information.

19 min 05 sec

Human Services Professional
Anthony Rochester
Defence Community Organisation (DCO)

Key Points

1.    For an ADF member and their family – as a source of advice and guidance – the Defence Family Helpline is available 24/7 to assist and support notwithstanding what the incident or query may be.  The DFH is staffed by qualified professionals and is based in Canberra with all DFH team members being well-versed in the military way of life, and the challenges and opportunities that arise from serving. The DFH is available and can provide advice in an anonymous nature if required (acknowledging that support options may be limited if caller is anonymous).

2.    In the first five years within the ADF ‘family’, we encourage family members to maintain their civilian community networks, as well as to increase their networks within the Defence community.  We suggest that partners and family members join the DCO FB page, and sign up to our Twitter and Instagram for regular updates.  Also please read the Defence Family Matters magazine which is distributed to 40,000 Defence households twice per year and is an additional source of information.      

3.     Defence encourage family members to stay together (move) on posting and has DCO offices on most of the large military bases, and has outreach available for the smaller bases.  We encourage families to engage with the local DCO staff at their regular family focused events – Welcome Events, coffee mornings, dinners etc.

4.    Partner Employment Assistance Program – PEAP – is available to assist all partners of ADF members to secure employment at their next location. Up to $1500 is available per posting.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 or alternatively email

28 min 26 sec

Chaplaincy Branch
Karen Ey

Key Points

More on Chaplains

We’re still working on our tech skills somewhat and our Communications Officer Michelle clearly couldn’t stay out of the action with a cameo appearance on the final recording…plus a rogue computer mouse that makes its appearance too!

But we really hope you got something out of this initiative.

The Army and Navy events are being held at the end of March, we will be adding registration links for these events shortly.

Resources for new families

The Defence Family Helpline
1800 624 608

This is the first point of call for support, information and connection with your Defence community. You can also email the Helpline on and receive a response within 24 hours. This helpline is located within the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) which also offers a broad range of programs and services to help Defence families.

Deployment Support Booklet

Defence Housing Authority (DHA)
139 342

Provides housing and services for ADF members and families.

Tenant Handbook

Toll Transitions (TOLL)
1800 819 167

Provides moving services for ADF members and their families

Relocation Guide

Open Arms
1800 011 046

Provides free counselling for members, veterans and their families.

ADF Family Health Program
1300 561 454

All recognised dependants of full-time ADF members are eligible to register for the National Family Health Program.

Defence Special Needs Group (DSNG)

A support group for ADF families with special needs.

Defence LGBTI Information Service (DEFGLIS)

Provides supports and represents ADF LGBTI personnel and their families.


An online communications platform for Defence to connect with members and families.

Chaplains – Army – Navy – Air Force

Provide support to members of the ADF and their families to work through a range of life issues, especially as they apply to military service.

To contact a Chaplain please call the Defence Service Centre on 1800 333 362 and ask for the Duty Chaplain in your area.

ADF Consumer Centre

Provides financial and consumer education service for ADF members and their families.

At Ease – Family (DVA)

DVA’s portal to online mental health information. It provides self-help tools and information to support mental health and wellbeing and is a gateway to websites and free mobile apps about stress, PTSD, alcohol management, resilience and suicide awareness and prevention.

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