F-111 Fuel Tank Maintenance website - Information for F-111 fuel tank workers and their families

What's New

27 August 2014 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 1041 Tier applications have been determined since May 2010. 789 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 568
  • New applications accepted to date: 419
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 23; Tier 2 - 10; Tier 3 - 386
  • New applications not accepted: 101
  • New applications in progress: 48

Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome Study- Update 10 June 2014

In response to Recommendation 18 of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) Inquiry into F-111 Deseal/Reseal Workers and their Families, Defence has sponsored world first, ground breaking research into F-111 Deseal/Reseal and fuel solvent exposure to look at possible genetic changes in these workers and what may be causing these changes. This research follows previous small pilot studies by Professor Frank Bowling which indicated changes in mitochondrial proteins in peripheral blood samples in individuals exposed to fuel and solvents.

The Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome Study (JFES Study) is led by Professor Bowling and conducted by the Mater Medical Research Institute (MMRI), in collaboration with Omics (Research) Laboratory (within Mater Pathology) and Emphron Bioinformatics. Administrative support is provided through the University of Queensland.

The former Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, officially launched the Study on 16 December 2010 at the Centre for Military and Veterans' Health, supported by Defence, MMRI and Mater Pathology. Media, DVA, Defence and DS/RS Veterans were present at the launch.

There was a very good response from those who participated in the four recognised F-111 Deseal/Reseal programs to be part of the study. The clinical and laboratory testing phase of the research project was completed in December 2013. Detailed statistical studies and data analysis are now underway. Results from the JFES Study are anticipated in late 2014 or early 2015.

Further details on the progress of the JFES Study are available through the JFES Consultative Forum Meeting Minutes on the F-111 Website.

16 May 2014 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 1016 Tier applications have been determined since May 2010. 771 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 554
  • New applications accepted to date:401
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 23; Tier 2 - 10; Tier 3 - 368
  • New applications not accepted: 94
  • New applications in progress:59

11 February 2014 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 1011 Tier applications have been determined since May 2010. 766 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 554
  • New applications accepted to date: 396
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 23; Tier 2 - 10; Tier 3 - 363
  • New applications not accepted: 94
  • New applications in progress: 64

24 June to 10 September 2013 - RAAF Mail out to encourage potential Tier applicants to come forward.

As part of an ongoing commitment to F-111 Deseal/Reseal workers, DVA and Defence continue efforts to identify potential Tier applicants.

The RAAF mail out targeted 577 ex AFFITT/ATECH personnel posted to 1SQN, 6SQN, 482SQN, 3AD and 501WG between 1974 – 2000 who may have Tier eligibility but have not applied.

Personnel have been identified through RAAF historical records, Defence IT and Defence Personnel data bases.

By 22 October, 41 Tier applications were received in response to the mail out. Preliminary examination shows these Tier applications are likely to be successful.

This brings the total up to 57 new Tier applications currently being determined.

22 November 2013 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 1007 Tier applications have been determined since May 2010. 762 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 543
  • New applications accepted to date: 392
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 9; Tier 3 - 361
  • New applications not accepted: 94
  • New applications in progress: 57

Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome Study- Update and Call for Volunteers July 2013

Since the initial call for volunteers, there has been a great response from those who participated in one of the four recognised F-111 Deseal/Reseal programs to be part of the JFES study. Researchers are confident that there are now sufficient F-111 Deseal/Reseal program volunteers for the study. This stage of the project is now completed.

However, we are now at an important stage in the research. We now need new volunteers who were not occupationally exposed to Fuels or Solvents and who can act as a ‘control’ group for the research. These new non-exposed volunteers should be male and in the age range of 50 – 70 years old.

To register please see the attached letter and registration form from JFES Study Researchers.

If you would like to know more about the JFES Study please see the Jet Fuel Exposure Sydrome Study on the Inquiries and Studies page.

24 July 2013 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 1006 Tier applications have been determined since May 2010. 761 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 503
  • New applications accepted to date: 391
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 9; Tier 3 - 360
  • New applications not accepted: 94
  • New applications in progress: 18

28 May 2013 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 1004 Tier applications have been determined since May 2010. 759 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 498
  • New applications accepted to date: 389
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 9; Tier 3 - 358
  • New applications not accepted: 94
  • New applications in progress: 15

16 April 2013 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 1000 Tier applications have been determined since May 2010. 757 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 492
  • New applications accepted to date: 387
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 9; Tier 3 - 356
  • New applications not accepted: 92
  • New applications in progress: 13

12 April 2013 - VVCS Lifestyle Program

In April 2013, DVA conducted a mail-out to all Tier 1, 2 and 3 recipient and SHOAMP Health Care Scheme Group 1 participants inviting them to participate in the VVCS F-111 Residential Lifestyle Program.  The four-day residential group program provides a combination of information and skill-building sessions for F-111 personnel and their partners.

If you are a Tier 1, 2 or 3 recipient or SHOAMP Health Care Scheme Group 1 participant and did not receive a letter inviting you to attend this program, please contact DVA on 1800 728 007.

Please note, if you attended an F-111 Lifestyle Program in 2011 or 2012, you are not eligible to attend again in this series of F-111 lifestyle programs.

20 February 2013 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 992 Tier applications have been processed since May 2010. 750 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 489
  • New applications accepted to date: 380
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 9; Tier 3 - 349
  • New applications not accepted: 91
  • New applications in progress: 18

19 February 2013 F-111 counselling services update

In 2011 and 2012, the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) conducted 12 residential Lifestyle Programs tailored to the needs of eligible F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers and their partners across Australia. VVCS is planning to conduct more residential Lifestyle Programs in the second half of 2013.

All VVCS counselling services are available to eligible F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers and family members. These services include: counselling for individuals, couples and families to address a range of service-related issues; group programs, including management of anxiety, depression, anger and sleep difficulties; residential Lifestyle Programs, and a range of other group programs. For further information on VVCS services, please contact your nearest VVCS centre on 1800 011 046.

DVA and Defence progress report 10 January 2013 - implementing the Parliamentary Inquiry recommendations

The F-111 Parliamentary Inquiry report of 2009 included a number of recommendations and in the May 2010 Budget the Government announced the measures in response to the Inquiry report, with DVA and Defence responsible for implementing the 14 accepted recommendations. Both departments have been working steadily throughout 2010-2013 to implement those 14 recommendations. A DVA and Defence progress report for January 2013 (PDF 63KB) (RTF 133KB) outlines progress.

6 November 2012 - Promotion of New Fact Sheets for F-111

DVA has recently reviewed and improved the readability of the F-111 Fact Sheets. The information previously covered hasn’t changed. Use of F-111 Fact Sheets has now been made easier with Fact Sheet F111-06 combined into F111-02 while Fact Sheets F111-08 and F111-10 have been combined with Fact Sheet F111-07. Other Fact Sheets have been updated into a simpler format. Please use the following links to F-111 'Fact Sheets and Forms' and DVA Fact Sheets to see these updates.

5 November 2012 - Progress of Tier applications

In total 987 Tier applications have been processed since May 2010. 745 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reviews completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reviews comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reviews completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reviews in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 480
  • New applications accepted to date: 375
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 9; Tier 3 - 344
  • New applications not accepted: 91
  • New applications in progress: 14

19 September 2012 - progress of Tier applications

In total 976 Tier applications have been processed since May 2010. 736 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reconsiderations completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reconsiderations comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reconsiderations completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reconsiderations in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 474
  • New applications accepted to date: 366
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 9; Tier 3 - 335
  • New applications not accepted: 89
  • New applications in progress: 19

Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome Study- Response to call for volunteers September 2012

Since the call for volunteers, there has been a good response from those who participated in one of the recognised F-111 Deseal/Reseal programs to be part of the study. Researchers are confident that there are now sufficient F-111 Deseal/Reseal program volunteers for the study.

Defence continues to seek other volunteers for the study who are:

  • current or previous Air Force members who were NOT involved in the F-111 Deseal/Reseal programs, or who had no direct exposure to F-111 jet fuel; and
  • First degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) of personnel who participated in one of the F-111 Deseal/Reseal programs.

For further information please see the Jet Fuel Exposure Sydrome Study on the Inquiries and Studies page. Your assistance in making this known to people who might satisfy these two categories would be appreciated. Persons interested in volunteering should contact the Defence Service Centre on 1800 333 362.

25 July 2012 - progress of Tier applications

In total 968 Tier applications have been processed since May 2010. 729 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reconsiderations completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reconsiderations comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reconsiderations completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reconsiderations in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 469
  • New applications accepted to date: 359
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 8; Tier 3 - 329
  • New applications not accepted: 88
  • New applications in progress: 22

Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome – call for Study volunteers 14 June 2012

The Department of Defence has recently called for volunteers for their Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome Study - the JFES Study.  Professor Frank Bowling, of Brisbane’s Mater Medical Research Institute is leading the Study.

Volunteers are asked to put their names into a database for random selection to be part of the Study – which is focusing initially on F-111 workers with Tier classification.  First-degree relatives (daughters, sons, sisters, brothers) of Tier personnel are also asked to put their names forward.

The attached letter from DVA’s Neil Bayles, was recently sent to Tier classified workers and received a good response.  There is still time for volunteers to participate.  Please call Defence on 1800 333 362 to enquire further.

1 May 2012 - progress of Tier applications

In total 931 Tier applications have been processed since May 2010. 701 personnel have now been accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the completion of Tier reviews and the progress of new Tier applications:

  • Reconsiderations completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reconsiderations comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reconsiderations completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reconsiderations in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 451
  • New applications accepted to date: 331
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 8; Tier 3 - 301
  • New applications not accepted: 79
  • New applications in progress: 41

19 March 2012 - progress of Tier applications

In total 914 Tier applications have been processed since May 2010. 684 personnel have been accepted as Tier classified since May 2010. The following statistics indicate the progress of both Tier reviews and new Tier applications.

  • Reconsiderations completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reconsiderations comprise: Tier 1 - 11; Tier 2 - 6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reconsiderations completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reconsiderations in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 441
  • New applications accepted to date: 314
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 22; Tier 2 - 8; Tier 3 - 284
  • New applications not accepted: 79
  • New applications in progress: 48

14 December 2011 - progress of Tier applications as at 9 December 2011

In total 843 Tier applications have been processed since May 2010. Of these, 617 personnel are now accepted as Tier classified. The following statistics indicate the progress of both Tier reviews (pre May 2010 applications) and new (post May 2010) Tier applications.

  • Reconsiderations completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 370
  • Accepted reconsiderations comprise: Tier 1 -11; Tier 2 -6; Tier 3 - 353
  • Reconsiderations completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 151
  • Reconsiderations in progress: NIL
  • New Tier applications lodged: 427
  • New applications accepted to date: 247
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 - 21; Tier 2 - 7; Tier 3 - 219
  • New applications not accepted: 75
  • New applications in progress: 105

13 December 2011 F-111 memorial unveiled at Amberly

Members who flew, maintained and supported F-111 operations have been honoured at a dedication service held at RAAF Amberley on 2 December 2011, exactly one year after the F-111 took the skies for the last time.

A memorial was unveiled by Group Captain Geoff Harland of 82 Wing (see Defence Media Release). 

A plaque on the memorial depicts an F-111 with wings swept back as it heads skywards.  An inscription, within a wattle wreath curled around the F-111, reads:

 “In Honour of those who flew, maintained and supported F-111 operations 1973 - 2010”.

And, on the base stone:  "Dedicated to the men and women who proudly served F-111 operations, and to the special memory of those who died providing this capability in the defence and security of our nation.”   

Group Captian Harland's memorial speech acknowledged those personnel who suffered or are still suffering from effects of F-111 support systems, including those involved in fuel tank maintenance.

28 November 2011 F-111 counselling services update

Matthew McGuinness is the new F-111 counselling services coordinator. He commenced the position in early October 2011 and will coordinate all F-111 counselling services provided through the VVCS, including the 4day residential Lifestyle groups. Matthew has worked with the VVCS for a number of years in counselling and in leadership roles and he replaces Julie Wilson in this F-111 position. The F-111 Implementation Program would like to thank Julie for her contribution to the health and wellbeing of F-111 personnel and their families.

In the year to the end of October:

  • 93 clients attended the F-111 Lifestyle groups
  • 4 clients attended other VVCS groups
  • 9 clients (approx. 10%) attended both an F-111 Lifestyle group and another
    VVCS group
  • 51 clients attended 344 VVCS sessions of individual or couple counselling

There are plans to conduct further residential lifestyle groups in 2012, including in Western Australia.

Call VVCS services on: 1800 011 046 to enquire about F-111 group programs, other VVCS groups, or individual counselling services.

Report Card October 2011 - implementing the Parliamentary Inquiry recommendations

The F-111 Parliamentary Inquiry report of 2009 included a number of recommendations and in the May 2010 Budget the Government announced the measures in response to the Inquiry report, with DVA and Defence accepting 14 of 18 recommendations. Both departments have been working steadily throughout 2010-2011 to implement those 14 recommendations. A DVA progress report for October 2011 (PDF 72KB) (RTF 152KB) outlines progress.

Tier reviews completed 14 October 2011

Tier reviews completed: As at 30 September 2011, all 521 Tier reviews are now completed, as per Recommendation 7 of the 2009 Parliamentary Inquiry. In May 2010 Government identified 501 unsuccessful Tier applications for automatic review. In the interim months another 20 reviews were added - being civilian contractors with dual eligible RAAF service.

From these 521 Tier reviews, 370 now have Tier classification (11 are Tier 1; 6 are Tier 2; 353 are Tier 3).

New Tier applications: In tandem with the above reviews, DVA’s F-111 Compensation Team process new Tier applications. From May 2010 until 12 October 2011, 410 new Tier applications have been submitted and 284 of these are now determined. 218 (of the 284 that are now decided) have Tier classification (20 Tier 1; 5 Tier 2 and 193 Tier 3); 66 (out of 284) new Tier applications are unsuccessful. 126 new Tier applications are in progress.

14 September 2011 Progress of Tier classifications

DVA is nearing completion of Recommendation 7 - reviewing 501 earlier unsuccessful Tier applications. In addition DVA is reviewing a group of civilian contractors who are ex-RAAF, to determine if their military service gives them Tier entitlement. Re-assessments are also now underway for a small cohort of persons previously allocated a Tier classification who have asked that their allocation be reviewed. The total reviews are now 521, of which 513 are completed. To date, the F-111 Tier Classification Team has received 403 new Tier applications, with 67% (270) now determined.

In total 577 personnel have been accepted as Tier classified since May 2010. The following statistics indicate the progress of both Tier reviews and new Tier applications.

  • Reconsiderations completed, and now accepted for Tier classification: 369
  • Accepted reconsiderations comprise: Tier 1 -11; Tier 2 -6; Tier 3 - 352
  • Reconsiderations completed and not accepted for Tier classification: 147
  • Reconsiderations in progress: 5
  • New Tier applications lodged: 403
  • New applications accepted to date: 208
  • New accepted Tiers comprise: Tier 1 -20; Tier 2 - 5; Tier 3 - 183
  • New applications not accepted: 62
  • New applications in progress: 133

29 July 2011 Jet Fuels Exposure Syndrome Study - volunteers needed

The JFES Study is looking at the effects of exposure to jet fuels and exposure to F-111 related chemicals, on RAAF personnel. Laboratory work commenced in March 2011 and the Study is still calling for RAAF volunteers. If you, or someone you know, fits any of the categories below:

1. Current or previous member of the RAAF, who participated in one of the four formal F-111 deseal/reseal programs;
2. Current or previous members of the RAAF, who were NOT involved in the F-111 deseal/reseal programs and have NOT had direct exposure to F-111 jet fuel;
3. First degree relative (parent, sibling, child) of someone who participated in one of the F-111 deseal/reseal programs.

Please call 0467 722 025 or email JFES.Study@defence.gov.au to enquire or register. For more information about the JFES study, the attached Study newsletter refers.

Report Card June 2011 - implementing the Parliamentary Inquiry recommendations

The F-111 Parliamentary Inquiry report of 2009 included a number of recommendations and in the May 2010 Budget the Government announced the measures in response to the Inquiry report, with DVA and Defence accepting 14 of 18 recommendations. Both departments have been working steadily throughout 2010-2011 to implement those 14 recommendations. A DVA progress report for June 2011 (PDF 174KB) (Word 90KB) outlines progress.

JFES study 9 May 2011

The Department of Defence's Jet Fuels Exposure Syndrome (JFES) study was launched in Brisbance in December 2010. The research aspects of the study are led by Biochemistry Professor Frank Bowling. The study is being managed by Rachelle Warner, Assistant Director, Defence Centre for Occupational Medicine. Rachelle's newsletter about the study will be posted to the What's New page shortly. Rachelle can be contacted on 0467 722 025; or you can email JFES.Study@defence.gov.au if you have any queries about the progress of the study.

1 March Respite Care at a glance

Respite Care is designed to provide relief for a carer who has responsibility for a person requiring ongoing care, attention or support; it may be used in times of unavailability of the carer, for any reason. Respite Care services are detailed on this website's Health Care pages. This information is also available at a glance.
View aw RTF (117KB)
View as PDF (51KB)

15 February 2011 - residential group counselling program - enrol by 28 February

This is a four-day residential group program providing participants and their partners with opportunities to meet others who may have experienced similar health effects from exposure to chemicals used in F-111 deseal/reseal and associated fuel tank maintenance work. The residential Lifestyle Program provides a combination of information and skills-building sessions designed to assist participants in managing the health and social effects resulting from their F-111 work. Topics in the Program include Communication skills; Relationships; Stress management; Anger management; Self esteem. The Program is conducted by facilitators who are knowledgeable and skilled in each area.

The F-111 residential Lifestyle Program is available to eligible F-111 workers and their partners. Those who have attended earlier such Lifestyle Programs (prior to the expansion of services in November 2010), may participate once more in a forthcoming Lifestyle Program. The Program is initially planned for Carrara, Gold Coast from 28-31 March 2011 and possibly in central New South Wales in early April 2011 (and in other locations/states subject to demand).

DVA and the VVCS - Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service - have recently written to prospective participants and that letter, mailed 14/15 February, is available for your information. In terms of this most recent mailout about the Lifestyle Program, DVA withheld letters to participants living in flood, bushfire, or cyclone affected areas (on the assumption that persons in disaster-affected areas may have immediate priorities other than attending a four-day group program about lifestyle). Although disaster-relief counselling, such as community resilience and disaster recovery, are not part of the forthcoming Lifestyle Programs, participants from any area, including those whose letters were withheld, are most welcome to attend.

Letters contain a registration form with a cut-off date of 21 Febraury. Please note that this date is extended to 28 February - for you to either send in a form, or call VVCS to register for the March course.

If you are interested in attending one of the above programs (or a future program in your area), please contact the VVCS as soon as possible (as places are limited) on 1800 011 046.

See:

Group 2 participants and counselling services

The national manager of the VVCS - Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service has recently written to Group 2 participants (mailout 15 February, by DVA, auspiced by Mr Neil Bayles) advising them of current VVCS F-111 counselling services available to them. The VVCS letter is available for your information. Group 2 participants are immediate family members of a SHOAMP Health Care Scheme Group 1 participant (Tiers 1, 2 or 3); and/or, service persons or civilian employees who are not covered by the SHOAMP Health Care Scheme Group 1 definition, but who were employed at RAAF Base Amberley during the F-111 deseal/reseal programs (the 1st and 2nd deseal/reseal programs 1977-82 and 1991-93; the spray seal program 1996-99; and the wings deseal/reseal program 1985-92).

See:

2 February 2011 Serum Management Committee

The Serum Management Committee oversees the storage and management blood serum samples collected as part of the 2004 Study of Health Outcomes in Aircraft Maintenance Personnel (SHOAMP). Information about the Serum Management Committee can now be found at the Inquiries and Studies pages of this website.

19 November Report Card - implementing the Parliamentary Inquiry recommendations

The Parliamentary Inquiry report included a number of recommendations and in the May 2010 Budget the Government announced the measures funded in the Budget in response to the Inquiry report. DVA and Defence accepted 14 of 18 recommendations. Both departments have been working steadily throughout 2010 to implement those 14 recommendations. A DVA progress report - the Report Card (PDF 121 KB) (RTF 80 KB)- outlines implementation.

23 December – changes to additional information in Tier definitions

Background:  In 2005, in response to the Royal Australian Air Force Board of Inquiry (BOI) into the health and wellbeing of  F-111 maintenance workers, the Government introduced ‘Tier’ classifications for those personnel who participated in the four formal F-111 deseal/reseal (DSRS) programs at RAAF Base Amberley.  Tier 1 eligibility not only provided SRCA compensation and health care coverage (under sub-section 7(2) streamlined liability provisions), but also provided a $40,000 ex-gratia lump sum payment.  Tier 2 classification provided the same SRCA access as Tier 1, but a lesser amount of $10,000 as an ex-gratia lump sum payment.  Tier 3 provided SRCA coverage for compensation and health care entitlements, but no ex-gratia lump sum payment.

The 2010 Government response to the 2009 Parliamentary Inquiry – the Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) Inquiry Report “Sealing a just outcome: Report from the Inquiry into RAAF F-111 Deseal/Reseal workers and their families”,  accepted pick and patch workers and others involved in F-111 fuel tank maintenance with fuel tank entry, as having Tier 3 eligibility.

Recent changes to some of the ‘additional information’ sections in the Tier definitions:  In the six months following the May 2010 Government response, some former deseal/reseal personnel have found parts of the existing ‘additional information’ in the Tier definitions confusing.

That lack of clarity has led changes to the ‘additional information’ section of the Tier definitions, approved by the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) on 9 December 2010 . (These changes do not exclude otherwise eligible claimants because eligibility is determined by the actual definition, not by the additional information). The clarifying changes can be found at Recent Changes on the Tier page of this website.

Number of medical conditions claimed to 30 November 2010

In addition to processing applications for Tier classification, DVA’s F-111 staff also  process claims for compensation and benefits. In the months since the F-111 announcements in the May 2010 Budget, 65 new claimants have lodged claims for compensation and benefits for a total of 243 medical conditions.

To date, 34 of the claimed conditions have been accepted and two conditions have been rejected. The 207 remaining conditions are still being investigated and processed.  It has been found that in some cases the claimed conditions are actually symptoms that can be incorporated  with another diagnosed condition.

Along with these new claims for medical conditions, DVA is reconsidering previously rejected conditions (in cases where a review of Tier classification has since led to a favourable decision). There are105 conditions identified from Tier review cases, that can now be considered under Section 7(2) of SRCA. 85 conditions are now accepted outright, and 19 accepted as part of another diagnosis.  One claim has been rejected on the basis that a medical diagnosis could not be established.

15 December - Counselling services expanded

Ms Julie Wilson has been appointed as the F-111 Project Officer providing F-111 specific counselling services through the VVCS.  Julie comes to the role with an extensive background of working in a number of the VVCS centres as a counsellor and project officer.  Julie is coordinating the design and delivery of counselling services for former F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers and their families. Roll out of F-111 specific programs will occur in March 2011.

Along with the above F-111-specific program, all other VVCS counselling services are currently available to eligible F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers and family members. Those services include: counselling for individuals, couples and families to address a range of service-related issues; group programs, including management of anxiety, depression, anger and sleep; residential lifestyle programs, and a range of psycho-educational workshops. For further information on VVCS services, contact your nearest VVCS centre on 1800 011 046.

DVA has recently written to some 112 persons, for whom we have confirmed current addresses, and who were previously registered with DVA’s SHOAMP Health Care Scheme (HCS) advising them of the expanded counselling program. If you are a Group 2 participant, and you have not received a letter about counselling services, please read the advice-letter (PDF 63 KB)* here. Although the letter is addressed to Group 2 participants the expansion of counselling services covers Group 1 personnel as well.

Please note, you do not need to be registered with the SHOAMP Health Care Scheme to access counselling sessions.

*Letter to known HCS Gp 2 registrants

14 October Health Care Scheme – a reminder

What is it: If you have paid for medical treatment for any of 31 specified conditions/illnesses, you may be able to get your money back, either a full or partial reimbursement. The Scheme reimburses your out-of-pocket expenses, whether the cost of a treatment, or a ‘gap’ amount you have had to pay. Reimbursement will be provided for treatment costs related to compensation claims lodged since 20 September 2005, and all new compensation claims.

How it works: You will have made a claim for compensation (for any of the conditions above), and that claim would have taken, or will take, a period of time to be decided. The Scheme covers health expenses during that decider-period. (Once your claim was/is determined - and accepted - your health care costs are covered under the SRCA legislation, which is a different scheme).

Reimbursements of your health care treatment costs will be provided from the date your compensation claim was submitted, to the date your claim was accepted. Reimbursements can also, in some instances, continue to be paid when a claim has been unsuccessful (contact us to check).

How to apply: You can request reimbursement by completing a Reimbursement Claim form – SHOAMP Health Care Scheme. Along with the form, send in any original receipts; and if you don’t have these, please contact your practitioner or doctor to get a repeat invoice.

Please call 1800 728 007 for further information about the Health Care Scheme.

See also Questions and Answers Q11 of this website.

17 September 2010  National advertising campaign

DVA's F-111 advertising campaign, to raise awareness of the Government response to the Parliamentary Inquiry, resumes its final week in Queensland this weekend (following the completion of the federal election, and the appointement the new Minister for Veterans Affairs, The Hon Warren Snowdon MP). The campaign features newspaper ads on 18 Sept and radio ads for a week commencing 20 Sept. The campaign (both print and radio) will be expanded into other states on 25 September. DVA is keen to contact as many former deseal/reseal and other fuel tank maintenance workers as possible, to alert them to the recent changes to compensation and health care, in place since the May 2010 Budget. The campaign utilises both mainstream and RAAF media with newspaper (PDF 121Kb) and radio (MP3 1.2Mb) advertisements and e-posters (PDF 826Kb).

17 September 2010 Monitoring Position

In response to accepted recommendation 11 of the Parliamentary Inquiry report, DVA has appointed David Janik as Assistant Director to the position, from 14 September. David reports to F-111 National Manager, Neil Bayles, in the following capacity: monitoring and reporting on the health conditions being claimed by former F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers; monitoring and reporting progress of implementation of the Government response to the Parliamentary Inquiry report; assisting claimants who are dissatisfied with the process or outcome of their claim, by liaison with other DVA staff and the Department of Defence. All F-111 inquiries should continue to go the F-111 hotline number 1800 555 323.

11 August 2010 Respite Care in DVA and beyond

A new entry in the Health Care pages of this site provides a ready referance - including phone numbers for respite enquiries, such as the after-hours emergency number 1800 059 059. The respite care information applies to all DVA clients with accepted disabilities, ie, it is not F-111 specific.

See the Respite Care page.

1 July 2010 Using statutory declarations

The use of statutory declarations (Stat Decs) recognises the particular issues that may be encountered by F-111 fuel tank maintenance personnel, in the absence of official records.  Fact sheet F111-05 explaining how to use Stat Decs in the absence of work related records has been recently amended and clarifies DVA requirements around submitting either one or two Stat Decs.

The new fact sheet is available on this website, or you can phone the F-111 Team at DVA on 1800 555 323 and we will post one to you.

May 2010 Budget measures in the Government Response

The May 2010 Budget contains funding for the Government Response to the Parliamentary Inquiry, Sealing a just outcome. The Budget provides some $55 million over four years, expanding the definition of eligible personnel and the benefits and services available to them.  The new measures take effect immediately.

Key features* of the Budget measures are:

  • expanding of the Tier 3 definition to include many more workers;
  • providing enhanced access to compensation and health care under ss7(2) of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) for an estimated additional 2400 personnel, including the ‘pick and patch’ workers and other trades;
  • using Statutory Declarations to support claims;
  • reopening of the SHOAMP Health Care Scheme, with access now available to many more workers;
  • appointing a dedicated F-111 team within DVA to review and process claims - contact the team on 1800 555 323, or e-mail:f111enquiries@dva.gov.au (please do not send personal information by e-mail until you have submitted an Authority form (PDF 90 Kb).
  • tasking a senior officer with health and F-111 claims background to oversee and report on implementation of the new measures;
  • expanding the counselling services available to F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers and their families, through the VVCS - Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (call 1800 011 046);
  • providing a dedicated F-111 government website, jointly hosted by the departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs.

The ex-gratia payment scheme continues unchanged, with the exception that the Estates of deceased personnel who died prior to 8 September 2001 are now eligible to apply for ex gratia payments.

The Department of Defence is continuing to research the underlying cause of health conditions associated with F-111 fuel tank maintenance through its study of mitochondria in personnel exposed to fuel and solvents. A pilot study has been completed and the next stage of the research is being scoped under the management of Defence Centre for Occupational Health.

Press release (PDF version 44 Kb) (Word version 1 Mb)

Government Response (PDF 190 Kb)

Mailout re Gov Response:

DVA has written to some 1,200 persons (who have contacted the Department in the past, in relation to F-111 matters, including those already classified as Tier 1, 2 and 3 personnel) informing them of the Government Response, and what it may mean to them. The Mailout (of 24 May, to all persons for whom DVA has current addresses) includes differing letters, depending on an individual’s previous, and possibly changing, circumstances.

The letters can be viewed at:

Phot of F-111 strike aircraft
Image courtesy of the RAAF