Nambucca Heads was the venue for the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the NSW Branch of the organisation known as Partners of Veterans Association (PVA) of Australia Inc.
So what is PVA? Starting up in 1999, PVA is a nationwide support network for partners of past and present members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their Allies.
PVA believes that there is a great need for support for all partners, carers, widows, widowers and families of Australian veterans, both now and in the future as our defence forces continue to be deployed to areas of conflict throughout the world.
Their aim is not only to support the partners of our generation, but also to consider the needs of future generations and to have in place a support network that was not available when many of our veterans returned from their war service. They offer support, friendship, information and understanding.
The AGM was attended by representatives from Grafton, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Central Coast, Tamworth and Wollongong.
The AGM was also attended by the Deputy Commissioner for NSW and ACT from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), Michelle Glanville, and her Executive Officer Hayden White. Ms Glanville indicated her department see the PVA as an organisation that has grown in importance and profile due to its ability to get important information out to partners and families.
It could be said that partners and families are the secondary clients for DVA. The AGM was also visited by the Mayor of the Nambucca Shire, Mrs Rhonda Hoban who, as the mother of a serving member of the ADF, is developing her understanding of the issues facing the partners and families of current and ex-serving members of the ADF.
During the AGM the NSW State Branch of PVA Australia Inc elected its new committee for the next two years. Louise Freebairn of Scotts Head was elected as the State President. Louise is looking forward to the challenge, I asked her what she would focus on early in her tenure.
Louise is keen to enhance the organisations ability to get information out to where it is needed and will work on networking solutions so that their sub-branches and support groups, over 30 across the state are better informed.
If you are interested in learning more about PVA or would like to join please call 1300 553 835 or go to www.pva.org.au/about-nsw-branch. PVA meets monthly in Nambucca Heads, Coffs Harbour and Kempsey and welcomes new members.
About the author: Mick Birtles is a recently retired army officer now living in Nambucca Heads. During his 36-year career, Birtles served in Bougainville, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for command and leadership. Here he shares his interest in the issues effecting veterans on the Mid North Coast.
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