FEDERAL MP Warren Entsch is urging people to donate to ex-service organisations rather than sending a traditional Anzac Day care package this month, as the number of Australian Defence Force personnel who are deployed overseas lessens.
Since East Timor in 1999 there have been almost 72,000 ADF members who have served on overseas operations. By Anzac Day 2014, however, there will be approximately 2,000 ADF personnel deployed overseas.
This is less than in previous years as a result of missions in East Timor and the Solomon Islands being completed, and the continued drawdown of forces in Afghanistan.
“We need to recognise that there are increasing numbers of recently-returned Australian ex-servicemen, and these younger veterans have different needs to our older veterans,” Mr Entsch said.
“I’d like to encourage anyone who is looking to make a lasting contribution to ADF personnel and their families to think about making a donation to one of the many Ex-Service Organisations that are dedicated to supporting our serving men and women.”
Anzac Day is an important occasion when Australians reflect on the courage of the men and women who have served in our name, particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
For over a decade our troops have seen continuous deployments on operations overseas, often in complex, challenging and extremely dangerous environments. During Australia’s operations in Afghanistan 40 Australian Defence Force (ADF) members have been killed and 261 have been wounded.
“For some of our veterans, mental and physical injuries resulting from their military service will last a lifetime,” Mr Entsch said.
“This Anzac Day I urge Leichhardt residents to again dig deep and support our serving men and women and their families.”
Donations can be made to Legacy (www.legacy.com.au/donate) or Soldier On (www.soldieron.org.au/give/donations) to support wounded ADF personnel and those family members who are suffering financially and emotionally from the death of a loved one.
People who still wish to send a care package may instead like to consider donating money to the RSL’s Australian Forces Overseas Fund. The RSL provides care packages to Australian troops twice a year and your support would contribute to this valuable programme.
For further details regarding the RSL’s Australian Forces Overseas Fund or to donate, visit http://rsl.org.au/Support-Us