ADF have requested the public to donate to domestic charities, instead of sending car packages overseas. Ex serving, Renee Loch with gifts
ADF have requested the public to donate to domestic charities, instead of sending car packages overseas. Ex serving, Renee Loch with gifts

Defence starts war on care packages

THE Australian Defence Force is telling people to ditch their plans of sending Christmas packages to deployed troops claiming it's 'putting a drain on their logistics chain'.

But a Townsville veteran has backed the request - which has split public opinion - saying money would better spent supporting broken veterans at home.

The ADF claimed the amount of packages received 'far exceeded' the number of troops deployed.

 

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Instead, it has suggested people send emails or donate to ex-service organisations.

In 2017, troops received an average of 10 parcels each not including those from family and friends, the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund or 39th Operational Support Battalion.

Afghanistan war veteran Renee Loch said there's no doubt troops loved receiving care packages while deployed but felt 10 was excessive by anyone's standards.

"I completely agree with it because there's only so much each soldier needs over there,

"The packages are appreciated and we know the general public do appreciate us but I think the money is better off being spent to charities that have a bit more of an impact.

"For a lot of people the bigger battle is when they get home so the support of those still suffering need a lot more help here in Australia because there's a much bigger percentage of those than personnel deployed."

Member for Herbert Philip Thompson has chosen to break the tradition of his predecessor whose Christmas Appeal sent care packages to deployed personnel.

Instead, Mr Thompson has started a gift registry at his office for people to donate to St. Vincent de Paul locally.

He said people should still send emails with caring messages to deployed troops.

"I'm extremely delighted to hear that so many people have sent packages to our men and women on operations overseas to the point the logistics system can't take any more," Mr Thompson said.

"I know when I was overseas getting a package brightened up my day and raised morale but defence runs a logistic system and if they've said there's an overwhelming amount they can't keep up with than I think it's a great initiative.

"The way I would approach that is look at the organisations that would benefit your local veteran community or wider national veteran community in ways that resonate with you as important.

In an internal email seen by the Townsville Bulletin, the RSL's National Executive Support Manager Jan Ormerod echoed the request by the ADF and asked its sub branches, members and ex-service organisations to donate to the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund instead.

"That amount of mail puts a massive drain on their logistics chain here in Australia and in theatre," the email read.

"Some of the groups who send bulk packages mail outs are RSL sub-branches … As they are identified, these sub branches have been contacted by Defence staff and asked to redirect their generosity."

The Defence run 'Support the Troops Christmas' free mailing service ended on November 25 however family and friends can post packages at any time.