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Matt Keogh Veterans Minister Invictus Challenge Invictus Australia

Government recommits funds for veteran sport, Invictus Challenge at Parliament House

The threat of thunderstorms rolling over Parliament House wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of an eclectic bunch with one thing in common – an unwavering commitment to strengthening veteran wellbeing through the power of sport.

Politicians, sporting organisations, Invictus champions, everyday veterans, advocates, families and supporters gathered on the Sports Court to listen to Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh recommit DVA’s $9 million funding promise to enable Invictus Australia to deliver various international military games including the Invictus Games, as well as expand it’s footprint of community sporting programs for veteran families in all states & territories.

But not before some healthy competition on the courts. Invictus Australia’s sporting partners turned up to put the pollies through their paces – Bowls Australia, Canberra Raiders Wheelchair Rugby League, Rowing Australia and parkrun were all represented and got the blood pumping and sweat streaming.

Some honourable mentions went to:

  • The Hon Barnaby Joyce on the indoor rower = first place. Also a commendable effort as the first politian to arrive
  • Sally Sitou MP, impeccable bowls skills saw her take our the top prize. Extra points for enthusiasm and celebratory jump
  • The Hon Matt Keogh, for epic wheelchair rugby league skills
  • The Hon Anika Wells, for general fierceness on the court. We can see why Anika holds the Sport portfolio!

time for the announcement…

As the bragging and banter subsided, it was time to get to business. Minister Keogh announced he was pleased to honour the commitment made to Invictus Australia, to support wounded, injured or ill veterans through the power of sport.

“This funding will support the ongoing work of Invictus Australia and ensure our veterans and Defence personnel can continue to take part in sport at a local, national and international level,” Minister Keogh said.

“Not only does Invictus Australia support veterans and members of the ADF to showcase their sporting skills on the global stage, it’s also an organisation focused on assisting veterans on their journey of recovery and connecting them and their families with the broader community after they leave service.

“I am proud we are helping veterans, particularly those who are recovering from injury, to continue the friendships developed in service well into the future.”

The funding will also enable Invictus Australia to continue its Adaptive Sports Program for wounded, injured or ill veterans and encourage veterans’ involvement in local sporting and community clubs across all states and territories.

L-R: Debbie Dimmock, Ben Farinazzo, Luke Gosling MP, Tania Lawrence MP, Michael Hartung CEO Invictus Australia, Minister Matt Keogh, Veteran Family Advocate Commissioner Gwen Cherne, Glenn Keyes, Gary Wilson. Botton row – Renee Wilson, Rob Swanwick

Minster Keogh noted, “We are a sport-loving nation, it brings us together and connects us with our communities.”

And fittingly, sport was certainly a connector this morning, with this diverse bunch from all backgrounds and experiences, coming together to support proactive, positive and pragmatic ways that we can make a difference to the health of the Defence community. The banter, laughter and sportsmanship served as a powerful reminder of how impactful sport can be in building mental fitness and social connections. And what better way to kick off #VeteranHealthWeek activities, which run from October 1st – 9th, 2022.

Huge thanks to all our sporting partners who supported this activity – Bowls AustraliaCanberra Raiders Wheelchair Rugby League, Rowing Australia and parkrun Australia.

We thank the Government and DVA for their ongoing support and everyone who turned up to remind the Veteran community that we can achieve more when we are #UnconqueredTogether.

Invictus Australia focuses on the mental, social and physical health benefits of sport, supporting the Defence community to participate, volunteer of otherwise get involved sport, whether at a local club level, or representing Australia at the Invictus Games or other international events. As a not-for-profit organisation, Invictus replies on the generous support of Government, corporates and communities. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can support our work, visit

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