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The Library

We Must Stop The Suffering Of
Veterans

Heading 1

Jay V360 Gets A Blast from a Veteran

Veterans bitterly upset at the treatment of Jay V360.
Please read on with the following email screenshots attached.
MORE to come. 

Read on.

- Jason.

Call to monitor veterans affairs charities

Originally post by Rory Callinan
The Australian
12:00AM March 15, 2017

You can find the original article at 
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/call-to-monitor-veterans-affairs-charities/news-story/f6a04f084546b060fc980b10a0bb6418

Thousands of charities that have sprung up to service Australia’s military veterans could face the introduction of a self-regulatory system as the sector taps into billions of dollars in government funding.

Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan has flagged the new system to monitor the 3474 registered charities meeting the increasing needs of veterans after almost two decades of continual overseas deployment.
Mr Tehan said a regulatory ­regime was needed after revelations in The Australian that a charity chief executive invited to be the guest speaker at the government’s round-table event in Canberra last year was a convicted armed robber.

V360 charity chief Jay Devereux was jailed in 2008 for holding up a female supermarket manager with a knife in Adelaide.
Mr Tehan and the Veteran ­Affairs Department were unaware of the background of Mr Devereux, whose charity gets homeless veterans off the streets. V360 has since been listed to ­receive $10,000 in federal funds.
Mr Devereux, who is not a veteran, said he had always been upfront about his past with the department and had even mentioned in his speech that he had been in prison.

The Australian does not suggest his V360 charity is not helping veterans.
A report surveying the sector last year found many of the veterans-­related charities could not be considered ex-service ­organis­ations and that support services being offered were “not clear”.
Compiled by the Aspen Foundation, the report said the charities’ incomes amounted to $19.4 billion and they employed 19,5874 staff and 213,950 volunteers.

The report, “Ex-Service ­Organisations Mapping”, recommended a self-regulatory system that required accreditation, codes of conduct and a monitored minimum level of service delivery.
Mr Tehan last week called on the sector to develop some form of self-regulation.

“If organisations want minimum standards of experience and qualifications to work with veterans, then that reform should be driven by them,’’ he said.
He said former military chief Sir Angus Houston had responded to the Aspen report last year by establishing a committee to ­“explore opportunities to streng­then collaboration, self-regul­­ation and governance’’ in the sector.

Mr Devereux said he supported regulation and that Veteran Affairs knew of his history.
“I’m not proud of what I did but I did my time and I did my parole without any incident,’’ he said.
Mr Devereux said his charity had helped more than 150 veterans out of homelessness.

Several other charities this week said they already supported self-regulation.
Homes for Heroes manager Adrian Talbot said there was “no due diligence”.
“People can apply for charitable status but they don’t have to answer for their actions,’’ he said.

“There’s a potential to do more harm than good.
“Certain people set out with the best possible intentions when they start these organisations but, as you can see, there’s more than 3000 in this space.”

Inquiry into RAAF F-lll Deseal/Reseal Workers and their Families 

Date of post 21/01/2018

I need to highlight how hard this document to read is. It left me feeling thoroughly uneasy at the trials and tribulations of this strong man. He chose to be anonymous, He attempted to question his symptoms and to seek the truth out and was still down-trodden and left in doubt. I will quote from this article as an overview but i suggest to all affected and concerned to read the whole document written by a brave man.

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jfadt/deseal_reseal/subs/sub080.pdf

"My name is ****** and I'm a member of the F1-11 deseal/reseal
Support group in Ipswich and this is my story. Without the help and support of this group, I don't believe I would have been able to deal with this situation.

I joined the Air Force On the 14th of August, 1990. In my first three months, I was posted to Edinburgh RAAF Base South Australia to undergo initial training.
My first official posting was to RAAF Base Pearce Western Australia where I spent the next two years as a Transport driver. The tasks I undertook were various including VIP driving, long distance, exercise support, store runs, married quarter bus runs, duty driver and Aircraft refuelling duties.

Because the mastering was being disbanded I was sent a letter giving me three areas I could remaster to. I was informed by my SNCO that these mastering would be disbanded at a later stage also and he suggested I look at other areas. At the same time they were calling for interested members to remaster to aircraft mechanics, so I applied. Three months later I received a message informing me I was to undergo aircraft Mechanical training at RAAF Base WAGGA WAGGA New South Wales for six months, After successfully completing my aircraft mechanical training I was posted to RAAF base AMBERLEY Queensland.

On arrival at RAAF base AMBERLEY mid May 1993 I was sent to work at the deseal/reseal aircraft hangar to help the section members there with a backlog of jobs to be done. It was only to be a short-term thing but I ended up being there close to two years. In the time that I was employed at the deseal/reseal section I performed fuselage and wing integral fuel tank leak repairs and cockpit pressurisation repairs, I was in the section for three months before I was put on a confined space entry course which was more like a brief than a course. No certificate was issued and it was run by one of the SNCO's from the
deseal/reseal section.

Because I was not officially posted into the section I did not receive any blood testing every three months as required to be done for the permanent members in the section. I complained to my SNCO's about the dangers I could see in the section and I was promptly told I didn't know what I was talking about having not long been out of training, and that no one had died from working in the F-ll l Aircraft tanks.

While working in the section I suffered from severe headaches, skin rashes, upset stomach, watery eyes, severe diarrhoea, Gastro reflux, mood swings, memory loss, interrupted sleep, fatigue, chronic naval infections, breathing difficulties, Straining of my sheets to a yellow colour from my body sweating during the night and being told that I stunk of chemicals and fuel when going to mess for lunch.

One of the last things I did at the section was to deseal/reseal a set of F-ll l wings.
One of the things I remember with this was using an SR51 primer before sealing the wings with the sealant. In the first inquiry they said it was never used in this time period. That was incorrect as a quantity was found in a depot from one of the southern bases that took over a week to arrive delaying the finishing of the wings." 

"All the while my health was continuing to get worse and I was starting to suffer from periods of depression as well as kidney stones from not being allowed to have a water bottle with me on the flight line. Another squadron rule I had to follow, as we were told that water bottles could become a FOD hazard and we were made to feel that the aircraft was more important than your own health.

I had seen numerous RAAF Doctors while at deseal/reseal and for the
remaining of my RAAF career. I was informed that the Symptoms I was
suffering from were not a problem to be concerned about and that they would fix themselves or they would blow them off until they became so bad that something had to be done. I was given packets of panadol to take for the headaches and cream to use for the rashes which had no effect."

 "Both medical and environmental health sections told us that the correct testing had been done when issues were raised and that our health was never affected by the chemicals and fuel fumes we worked around on daily bases"

"By this stage my health had now become a real concern with major depression not responding well to medication, and my body in a lot of pain from the repetitive workload that I did in my job as an ordinance technician. In August 2006 I underwent the first of six operations that now were required because of the lack of proper medical treatment previously, even when being told by surgeons and specialists that the operations were needed to fix the problems.

I was posted to 6 squadron in Mid December 2006 where I went to work in an ordinance workshop and this is where the Aircraft pylons, bomb carriage units, external fuel tanks and CATM missiles were stored, serviced and repaired. Also, MAU-12's (internal part of the pylon) were stripped down for repair,
exposing members in the section to 'Cadmium Dust'. The blowing system that they should use while stripping the MAU-12 down was unserviceable while I was at the section."

"Medical discharge was instigated on the 12th of July, 2007 and finalized on the 27th of March, 2008.1 was told by the medical doctor on Base to organize my own doctors to continue with treatment. For years before my medical discharge, I tried to get tested for toxic exposure but the Air Force refused to do it. In July 2007 I was referred to an environmental GP who tests and treats patients who suffer from chronic fatigue. My test results showed that I had high levels of Benzene, Cadmium, Ketones, Toluene, Xylene, and Hydrocarbons in
my system that was causing chronic fatigue. As I was still part of the RAAF, but on full time medical leave, I informed the medical doctor treating me on base and he strongly refused to put that information on my medical file until about a month later.


As of 30 June 2008 I'm still on an invalid pension waiting for a decision on what level of pension I will be paid from the Department of Defence. My conditions haven't changed since my medical discharge and I still require treatment for these conditions. The invalid pension doesn't even come close to paying for the cost of these treatments while I'm waiting for compensation for some of the conditions. I went from earning close to sixty thousand to only nineteen thousand and will soon have to sell my house as I don't have enough money for mortgage repayments while waiting for a medical pension."

My replies to the terms of reference:

"The only just response in dealing with the health of the men
and women affected is to issue DVA gold cards to all concerned and stop the on-going delaying tactics employed by the previous government and politicians and the DVA department. Pay the rightful
compensation without delay or have the blood of the dead and dying RAAF and EX-RAAF personal on your hands.

My only son was conceived when I was in the middle of working at
deseal/reseal and he was born with Down's syndrome which was not in either family going back previous generations. He is also been a type one diabetic since the age of eight, he has just turned fourteen. The chemicals that I have been exposed to are known to cause DIMA damage to the mitochondrial membrane of human cells and also to the neurological pathways of the brain.

This leads me into asking about the study of mitochondrial study undertaken by the Air Force and the University of Newcastle and why the results had not been released yet. I heard that the government stopped the results from being published when the University of Newcastle found a link between damage to mitochondrial membrane and the chemicals that were used in the reseal/deseal program. I wanted to be part of this study but was told because I was still a servicing member of the RAAF I was not allowed to participate in it. 

So I tracked down a company that could do this and had my own blood, blood plasma and urine tested for heavy metal and toxic damage to my cells. This cost me close to a thousand dollars and took four months to get the results back as it had to be sent to America to be analysed. Release the results and let the truth be known.

The tests that we all had to do for the SHOAMP report were an absolute waste of time and a cover-up by DVA and the specialists they employed to carry out the testing. These tests were more about trying to catch you out so they could deny compensation claims. If I was paying to see these specialists I would want my money back as I have seen so many since I joined the RAAF I know when they are not being truthful. I worked on multimillion-dollar aircraft, who the hell they thought they were fooling.

What a cock-up the Ex Gratia scheme turned out to be. I sent my information in not long after the announcement as I do not trust the government while others delayed sending them in, hoping for a larger sum. There are still a lot of people that have missed out on the payment who worked in the tanks beside me and others that had no entitlement to any payment but received ten thousand dollars. I was disgusted only to receive 40,000 dollars for the pain and suffering and continual health problems, I will suffer from for the rest of my life. Also explain to me how one of my ex-workmates received close to four hundred thousand dollars for a shoulder injury sustained while in civilian employment and that was for just one injury. Or the Australian female politician who went to a cocktail party as part of her work and fell down a flight of stairs in an intoxicated state, and was also awarded close to the same
amount of taxpayers' money that my ex work mate received. I have received a lot more injuries than these two and will receive substantially less, so how can you say that the compensation the government have offered is appropriate.

IF this amount of money is to make up for the blatant fuckup and continuing denial, you can stick it fair up your backside and bloody well give me my health back. Because no amount of money would compensate me for what I have and will have to endure for the remainder of my life."

(Concerning the DVA)

"My first lot of compensation claims were submitted not long after the first inquiry, with the help from an Ex-service Advocate working out of Ipswich RSL office. I received a reply saying that they had received then but nothing more.
The Advocate helping me became very ill and was not able to help me and no one else in the office wanted to take on the Advocates work.

In the meantime, an Air Force Advocate office was set up at RAAF Base
Amberley to help deseal/reseal workers submit their compensation claims. I decided to see then to find out how my claims were going and when they rang DVA they were told that I hadn't submitted any (untrue). They then took on my case and resubmitted the claim paperwork and a copy of my medical file with it (two full volumes). About six months later I called in to see how the claims were going and again they made a phone call to DVA to be told that they couldn't find them or that they had been lost and could I resubmit then again.

This was again done by the Air Force Advocate office at RAAF Base Amberley and sent in. Some months had passed so I inquired about my claims again as I had found out through others that had submitted claims after me, already had their replies. Again the Advocates office rang DVA to be told by then that because I was still a servicing member my claims had been put to the bottom of the pile. When I did receive a reply from DVA all Deseal/reseal claims were denied and this was the same time most of the others found out too.

I can no long deal with DVA or MRCA direct because of the absolute bullshit, little childish games, lack of ability with written communication and delaying tactics that both of these departments continue to employ. DVA have refused to accept any deseal/reseal conditions even though I come under their scheme as well as MRCA. I now employ a solicitor to sue MRCA for damages caused by my Defence career because this is what you are forced to do, to achieve any
compensation outcome. Want to know how to fix these problems; 
1: Fix the absolute lack of cross-agency communication and cooperation between the departments. 
2: Stop changing the compensation scheme. Have one scheme
only that will be fair for all veterans regardless of their joining date.
3: Sack all public servants that don't have any previous Defence service that work in these departments and replace them with ex service personnel who understand how you are injured performing your duties in the Defence. 
4: If a claim is accepted in one State then it should be accepted in all States of Australia. This is certainly not the case as I have mates in other States that have the same conditions as I do and some of their claims are accepted and mine aren't and vice versa.

Being involved in the deseal/reseal program cost me my marriage, my health, my long-term plans, loss of close friends, loss of earning capability, my Airforce job, social life, my sporting and dancing abilities. I was a super fit 27 year old when I joined the air force with no health problems but that certainly changed when I became part of the deseal/reseal program.
I certainly didn't join to become sick from doing my job, especially having a free medical/dental system there that would monitor and fix health problems that arose, But unfortunately, the medical system in the air force has failed to diagnose and treat aircraft technicians suffering from organic solvent exposure."

"All Air Force personnel undergo annual medical testing with aircraft
technicians having to have further blood taken to check for heavy metal and chemical exposure. When I asked the senior nurse who took the blood samples if these were the correct blood tests, she admitted that they weren't and that was what the doctors wanted done. The extra blood test was a normal liver function test, and this won't show heavy metal or chemical exposure and the Air Force and the medical doctors know this."


"When I wrote my statement for the first inquiry, it was changed by the
government solicitors and when I asked them about this, they said if I wanted to get any compensation, then I had to sign the changed statement. It was a nothing like what I had written and they had destroyed the original statement without my permission. I wasn't happy about what had happened and I felt pressured and bullied by the solicitors into signing the document. Under no circumstances will this statement be changed by anyone else except the original writer or legal action will be taken."


https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jfadt/deseal_reseal/subs/sub080.pdf


Growing calls for Defence to act on toxic jet fuel health concerns
MARK COLVIN: A growing number of former and serving defence force personnel exposed to toxic jet fuel are calling on Defence and the Veteran's Affairs Department to review how they award compensation.

There's growing scientific evidence that links fuel exposure to a range of blood cancers.

But under the current system only veterans who have served in what the DVA deems a 'warlike environment' can be compensated for most blood cancers.

And a leaked report into Defence's fuel handling procedures suggests that present-day members of the army, navy and RAAF continue to be put at risk by dangerous practices.

Dan Oakes reports.

DAN OAKES: The treatment suites at the Royal Adelaide Hospital's oncology ward are a familiar place for retired RAAF mechanic Peter Cutting.

PETER CUTTING: I'm as ready as I'll ever be. I hope I'm warm enough. 

DAN OAKES: Today he's having an infusion of a drug called pamidronate, to help treat the symptoms of his myeloma. 

PETER CUTTING: It's an ordeal, no question, but it keeps you alive. Initially, I was given three or four years to live.

DAN OAKES: Peter Cutting believes his disease is the result of a 20-year career as a RAAF logistics and movements specialist where he was surrounded, and sometimes soaked in jet fuel.

PETER CUTTING: You'd get all this black crap all over you from the engines and all that and if they did a hot stop or something, the aircraft engines are still operating, so you cop a fair bit then. Like, it's blowing back. 

DAN OAKES: After being diagnosed with the blood cancer myeloma in 1999, Cutting made a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. It was rejected because the repatriation medical authority doesn't recognise that benzene, a component in fuels can cause the disease in personnel who have not served overseas. 

Peter Cutting says that if he had seen active war service it's he'd now be in possession of a gold card that would pay for all his medical expenses. Today, the RMA announced it was considering lowering the safety threshold of benzene exposure for a range of blood cancers but veterans like Peter Cutting, who never served in a war-like environment, are still locked out of the compensation system. 

PETER CUTTING: I'm not saying they should give money to everybody, it's just if you present with actual cancer, you should be looked after, you shouldn't have to go jumping over hurdles every bloody time you put a bit of paper in.

DAN OAKES: Melbourne lawyer Greg Isolani is representing a number of veterans with a variety of illnesses they blame on exposure to fuel. He says that emerging evidence about the dangers of fuel exposure could leave the defence vulnerable to a flood of claims in the future.

GREG ISLOLANI: I think it's a potential time bomb really for Defence and in particular DVA who have to administer the compensation scheme when they receive and consider perhaps epidemiological evidence and growing evidence that may become available not even within Defence that may be available from the petrochemical companies themselves that show perhaps an increase in the incident in these kinds of cancers or conditions relating to the nature of that work that's done with benzene. 

DAN OAKES: When the ABC first contacted Defence in April about the dangers of fuel exposure, it acknowledged that fuel handling procedures in the past had put members health at risk, but emphasised that procedures were now aligned with best practice. 

But a leaked audit of training at the fuel facilities of the Army, Navy and RAAF found that serious problems still exist with fuel handling procedures which continue to put servicemen and women at risk. 

Lawyer Greg Isolani again.

GREG ISLOLANI: It appears that Defence obviously has to use personnel in ways that may not be accepted in private or industry standards. 

DAN OAKES: The Department of Defence says it has implemented four of the 16 recommendations of the fuel safety audit, is in the process of implementing another six and is reviewing the others.

MARK COLVIN: Dan Oakes.

Dan Oakes reported this story on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 18:10:00
Click the link for ABC's original PM audio for this segment.
This is a transcript of the recording that took place regarding veterans/servicemen being exposed to toxic jet fuels.

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2015/s4304968.htm

Defence chief pledges investigation into compensation for veterans exposed to toxic fuel


By the National Reporting Team's Dan Oakes
Updated 25 Mar 2016, 7:41am

Original article

The Chief of the Defence Force has pledged the organisation will investigate whether a large number of veterans exposed to potentially lethal jet fuel — but ignored, until now, by the Defence hierarchy — should be compensated for their illnesses.

The ABC revealed last year that current and former Defence personnel have been exposed to toxic jet fuel over decades, and that many of them have gone on to develop serious health problems, including fatal blood cancers, depression, skin conditions and sexual dysfunction.

Although some of the comparatively small number of Defence staff who were exposed to fuel on the infamous F-111 deseal/reseal project have received compensation for illnesses they developed as a result, the far larger number of Army, RAAF and Navy personnel who also worked with fuel have received little recognition of the toll it took on their bodies.
The ABC also revealed that Defence allowed its personnel to handle fuel in unsafe ways, despite being aware of the potential dangers of exposure for many years.

In a recent letter to an Air Force veteran, seen by the ABC, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin described the issue as "complex", but said it was important that Defence consider "all fuel-exposed workers, not just former F-111 deseal/reseal maintenance personnel".

"Defence and [Department of Veterans Affairs] are also working closely on options to examine the compensation assessment process and identify any gaps that impact fuel-exposed workers," the letter goes on to say.

Air Chief Marshal Binskin revealed that there had been a number of meetings between staff from Defence, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Repatriation Medical Authority — the body that sets the medical guidelines by which veterans claim compensation for conditions arising from their service — in order to plot a way forward.

"More information on this process should be available in the coming months, and we will ensure that our jet fuel-exposed personnel are kept informed of developments through the Air Force Association, the RAAF website and the Air Force News," the letter says.
Evidence of link to blood cancers 'generally of poor quality'

In a separate development, the Repatriation Medical Authority announced recently that it was altering its guidelines for a number of blood cancers to acknowledge the potential toxicity of benzene, a component of jet fuel known to cause those cancers.

The guidelines — or "statements of principle" — by which veterans can claim that their lymphoblastic leukaemia, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, myeloma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma were caused by Defence service, previously defined "benzene exposure" as veterans having been exposed to liquids (such as fuel) containing 5 percent or more benzene.
That benzene volume has now been slashed to 1 percent, a seeming acknowledgement of some scientific opinion that there is no safe level of exposure to benzene.

The 1 percent figure is also significant because the benzene component of any fuel or other liquid Defence personnel were exposed to is likely to be far closer to 1 percent than 5 percent.
But in a blow to many veterans, the Repatriation Medical Authority continues to refuse to accept benzene exposure as a possible cause of most blood cancers in former Defence personnel who did not serve in an "operational environment", despite the fact that many veterans who served only in Australia were heavily exposed to fuel and other chemicals.

This creates the seemingly absurd scenario in which the authority acknowledges that benzene is potentially dangerous at lower levels than previously thought, but that it is somehow not dangerous if the veteran was exposed to it in Australia.
A spokesman for the authority described the "sound medical-scientific evidence" linking benzene with the blood cancers as "limited, and generally of poor quality", but went on to say where benzene is accepted as having a causal effect, that it is "likely to be at a lower level than previously specified".

He said despite that conclusion, the evidence is still too weak to suggest that people who served only in Australia might have contracted blood cancers from exposure to benzene in fuel.

Amberley F-111 maintenance workers could face heightened cancer risk, report reveals


By Alyssa Betts
Posted 19 Oct 2016, 4:32am

Hundreds of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) workers exposed to toxic chemicals during F-111 fighter jet maintenance programs could face a cancer risk up to 30 percent higher than their colleagues, a study has found.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report investigated death and cancer incidence rates of those who worked in the de-seal/re-seal program run at the RAAF Amberley base, west of Brisbane, until 1999.
It found the 1,655 exposed workers who took part in the study had cancer rates 23 percent higher than the non-technical staff at Amberley, and 30 percent higher than technical RAAF workers at Sydney's Richmond base.
The results have renewed calls for the workers to be better compensated.

Former de-seal/re-seal worker Ian Fraser said the Federal Government was playing a waiting game.
"They simply do not want to spend the money, and they'll just wait for the problem to die," he said.
"More money has been spent on reports and studies than on the victims of the F-111 de-seal/re-seal [programs], and that, to me, is wrong."

A Veterans Affairs Department spokesman told the ABC ex-gratia or goodwill payments, as well as compensation and healthcare schemes were already available.
The spokesman did not reveal how much compensation was on offer, saying it depended on the extent of the illness and impact on lifestyle and that had to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Australia acquired its F-111 fleet in 1973 and later discovered a problem with leaky fuel tanks.
Between 1977 and 1999, hundreds of workers were sent inside the fuel tanks of the fighter jets without personal protective equipment to fix the leaks.

The programs were eventually axed amid rising health concerns.
Several health studies have been conducted on the program.

In 2009, the AIHW published a report finding cancer rates in those exposed RAAF workers were 44 percent higher than the broader Australian male population.
But the authors of that report deemed it statistically insignificant due to the small number of people involved and found the overall study results to be "inconclusive".

In its latest study, the AIHW said the incidence of all cancers combined was "statistically significantly higher" among those exposed when compared with their RAAF colleagues who were not exposed.
It said the "noteworthy increase" in specific cancer types, including eye cancer, lymphoma and lung cancer, warranted further investigation.

But report authors did point out limitations inherent in the study, such as the voluntary involvement of participants, which "may artificially inflate the comparative rate of cancer incidence".

Compensation 'inadequate for the effects suffered'

Federal Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan said ex-gratia compensation had been available for de-seal/re-seal workers since 2005.
He said workers suffering a list of 31 prescribed conditions, including cancers, could access a compensation and healthcare package without having to prove their illness was caused by their service.

"This means that liability for these conditions is automatically accepted," Mr Teehan said.
However, Mr Fraser, a former president of the F-111 De-seal/Re-seal Support Group, has long argued existing compensation schemes were inadequate for the psychological and physical effects suffered, as well as the broader impacts on families.

"What DVA (Veterans Affairs) pays isn't compensation — they pay medical costs and benefits and possibly a small pension," he said.
"I've seen families collapse. I've stood by and watched wives lose husbands and children lose fathers ... friends committing suicide."