Ex Service Organisations (ESOs) raised their concerns about the lack of sufficient support for defence personnel and veterans in the Barossa, Gawler, and Northern Adelaide Plains areas at a forum held in Gawler during the week.

At the forum, arranged by Member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo the representatives from the organisations present said the lack of effective communication from some decision makers was hampering the delivery of important support services to defence personnel and veterans.

Mr Piccolo said that while the ESOs welcomed the recently announced veterans and families’ hub for the northern suburbs, they were looking forward to receiving more information about how they can contribute to the overall effort to improve service delivery.

“The ESOs welcomed the $5 million investment by the Federal Labor Government into this new service, but they did not fully understand how they fit into the new arrangements,” said Mr Piccolo.

“Some ESOs are also finding it difficult to get the necessary medical help, as the ongoing shortage of doctors and specialist mental health practitioners in the north, meant that veterans were not able to receive help when they needed it.”

The ESOs felt the forum was helpful in creating a safe place for the various service groups to air their concerns and create an opportunity for them to meet with each other and share notes.

Mr Piccolo said the forum has been established as a way for him to hear, firsthand, the challenges that our defence personnel and veterans are facing in the local areas and explore how his office could support the ESOs in the important work they do with service personnel.

“The forum held during the week was very successful as I was able to gain a better insight into the issues our local veterans are facing,” said Mr Piccolo.

“Some of the ESOs are based in the city or further south so we discussed how we deliver the services locally, thus reducing the burden for local veterans.”

“Sometimes services that are 40 kilometres are often not accessible to veterans, not necessarily because of finances, but the psychological barrier the distance poses.”

“With many veterans affected by PTSD travelling away from familiar environment can be very difficult.”

“The new veterans and famalies hub will certainly help, particularly if it can be integrated with existing services provided by existing ESO’s.”

“Collaboration is the key to supporting our defence personnel and veterans,” said Mr Piccolo.