National Veterans’ Affairs Committee (NVAC – National)

The RSL Australia National Veterans’ Affairs Committee (NVAC) is the forum where the key policy issues in the veterans’ affairs space at the national level are discussed by representatives of the RSL and its State Bodies. 

NVAC is tasked with monitoring, reviewing, and making recommendations to the RSL Australia Board regarding areas where the RSL can make representations to Government and other stakeholders to achieve beneficial changes in public policies or service provision.

Once these recommendations are made, the RSL can raise these matters to the Federal Government, through forums such as the Ex-Services Organisation Round Table (ESORT) and the Operational Working Party. These groups seek to address issues of strategic importance to the ex-service and defence communities and assist in setting directions for the medium to long term.


The NVAC is composed of the following members:

  • Dr Robert Webster (Chair)
  • Mr David McCann (NSW Delegate)
  • Ms Margaret Jenyns (QLD Delegate)
  • Mr Jeff Jackson (VIC Delegate)
  • Mr Adam “Buzz” Lawson (VIC Delegate)
  • Mr Garry Beven (TAS Delegate)
  • Mr Bill Hignett (SA Delegate)
  • Ms Robyn Steenbach (WA Delegate)
  • Mr Phil Winter (CEO RSLA)
  • Mr Michael Annett (RSLA Policy Officer)


Activities of the Previous Meetings

At the past meeting of the NVAC on 13 March 2024, the Committee discussed a number of important member and veteran issues. The top three items discussed at the meeting were:

  1. Legislative Reform: Now that Draft Harmonisation Legislation has been released, a number of activities are taking place across the League to seek member feedback to inform a robust RSL submission response.
  2. Claims Advocacy: Recognising the significant scarcity of qualified claims advocates, there was discussion about how the RSL can collectively and proactively address this issue.
  3. Aged Care Submissions: The RSL has participated in two submissions to the government, an RSL veteran-focused submission and a joint submission in collaboration with “National Organisations Working With Older People and Carers”. The RSL Australia submission is available here.

The Committee continues to closely monitor and follow the Royal Commission Hearing Block underway in Sydney and awaits the Final Report, which will be tabled later this year.

Next Meeting: 16 May 2024.


Achievements and Impact of NVAC

Some of the recent advocacy activities pursued by the NVAC, in conjunction with RSL NSW and its Veterans Services & Policy Committee, are outlined below:

Harmonisation of veterans’ entitlement legislation

The RSL has been calling for many years for the consolidation of the three Acts governing veterans’ entitlements and legislation into a single piece of legislation to simplify claims for veterans and their families. So the Federal Government’s announcement in February 2023 that it intended to simplify legislation governing Veterans’ compensation, rehabilitation, and other entitlements is a repudiation of the ongoing work of NVAC and those within the RSL advocating for the change. More information on the pathway to reform is available here.

Increase to Veterans’ Home Care funding
The Federal Government has announced an additional $70.6 million in funding over four years to increase Veterans’ Home Care fees for domestic assistance and personal care services. This funding will help to ensure important domestic assistance and personal care support through the Veterans’ Home Care program is delivered to the veteran community. The fee increase will benefit the 37,000 veterans, war widows, and widowers who receive services delivered through the Veterans’ Home Care program. More information on how to access the program can be found here.

Extension to Provisional Access to Medical Treatment (PAMT)
The Federal Government has committed $33 million to extend access to free medical treatment for veterans. The free Provisional Access to Medical Treatment program provides access to medical treatment for 20 of the most commonly claimed conditions to veterans who have lodged a claim with DVA.

The funding will ensure veterans can continue to access medical treatment for their condition while they wait for their claims to be processed, ensuring veterans access treatment sooner than they otherwise might. More information about the program can be found here.

Expanded Psychiatric Assistance Dogs Program (PADP)
This commitment consists of $22 million in funding to provide psychiatric assistance dogs to veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program matches highly trained dogs with veterans diagnosed with PTSD to support them through their clinical recovery.