Ex-serviceman a voice for |veterans

Phil Smith, state and national president of the Far East Strategic Reserve Navy |Association.
Phil Smith, state and national president of the Far East Strategic Reserve Navy |Association.

Mr Smith has been named as the state and national president of the Far East Strategic Reserve Navy Association.

He said the council would be a platform for veterans to express concerns, raise awareness and express ideas on all issues that would be passed on to the Government.

‘I aim to listen to all veterans on their matters of concern and bring them to the council or, if necessary, directly to the Minister, who by the way is ex-Navy,’ Mr Smith said.

‘It is important to understand that the Veterans Council will not duplicate any work by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs and I am honoured to be appointed by the Government to serve the Veteran Community.’

Mr Smith served in the Royal Navy for 20 years from 1963 to 1983 and was sent to the Far East during the Indonesian Confrontation from 1963 to 1966.

‘The Far East Strategic Reserve was also a war zone during the Malaya Emergency 1948 to 1960. During the two periods, 53 members of the Australian Defence Forces lost their lives,’ Mr Smith said.

‘My ship, HMAS Derwent, spent many weeks on patrol preventing illegal entry of weapons to the communist rebel forces. ‘It also involved naval gunfire support to the jungle to support the Australian Army.’

The council will meet quarterly, with the first meeting in June.