In the lead-up to Christmas Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert MP has encouraged Australians to show their support for Australian Defence Force members, particularly those deployed or recently deployed on overseas operations.
“Christmas is traditionally a time of giving and selflessness and this Christmas I encourage all Australians to spare a thought for our Defence Personnel currently serving overseas and those who have returned home.
“The most effective way to show support is to send an email message to the troops at supportthetroops [at] defence.gov.au. These messages are widely circulated and much appreciated by Defence members,” Mr Robert said.
“Defence will continue to provide a system for the public to send care parcels to our deployed personnel for Christmas.
“However this year I encourage those looking to donate to consider making a lasting contribution to Defence personnel and their families by donating to the RSL, Legacy or ‘Soldier On’ rather than sending a parcel.
“Importantly, there will be no change to existing free postal arrangements for family and friends to send mail and parcels to their deployed loved ones and mates,” Mr Robert said.
This Christmas the Australian Defence Force will have far fewer personnel deployed overseas following the closure of the East Timor and Solomon Islands missions earlier this year and the redeployment of up to 1,000 personnel who will be returning from Afghanistan by year’s end.
For members of the public who still wish to send general care parcels to deployed personnel for Christmas 2013, the Australian Forces Post Office box address below will be open from 1 November until 9 December 2013:
An Australian Defence Member
Australian Defence Force NSW 2890
In order to ensure an equitable distribution of parcels it is requested that all donations be gender-neutral, and be addressed to ‘An Australian Defence Member’, not to a specific job title, trade or unit member.
Unfortunately Defence cannot accept care packages for Military Working Dogs or Explosive Detection Dogs due to strict care requirements relating to both their diet and their training programs.
To ensure that all items are delivered to our deployed forces, donors are asked to ensure that packages are of non-perishable goods. It is important that items be robustly packaged as breakages can occur during transit, which can lead to infestation and spoilage of perishable goods. Defence cannot send perished or infested items overseas.
All items must be submitted to an Australia Post outlet by the cut-off date of 9 December 2013, and meet the requirements and restrictions detailed on the Defence website at http://www.defence.gov.au/christmas/mail/index.htm. Please ensure that parcels do not contain alcohol, pornography or inappropriate written material.
General care parcels received by Defence after 9 December 2013 and those that exceed our ability to distribute to deployed personnel will be donated to Australian charities such as the Salvation Army.
Alternatively, a donation can be made to the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund, which prepares care packages that are dispatched twice each year to Defence, Australian Federal Police and other Government Agency personnel deployed on operations. These care packs contain various non-perishable items, a letter of appreciation on behalf of all Australians and RSL membership contact details.
Importantly, these packs are professionally prepared and meet all Defence and host nation transport and import requirements. Donations to the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund can be made at http://www.rsl.org.au/Support-Us. Donations over $2 are tax deductible and every donation is individually acknowledged by the RSL.
“This Christmas I hope all Australians will pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen in the name of Australia and on behalf of us all,” Mr Robert said.
Richard Briedis (Minister Robert’s Office): 0477 391 174
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999