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On Sunday 18th September at South Coogee Beach, The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite, Assistant Minster for Veterans & Defence Personnel, and Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving, farewelled the first ever military Veteran team to compete at the Lifesaving World Championships in Italy.

Assistant Minister for Veterans, Matt Thistlethwaite, farewells Team Veteran Australia as they head to the Lifesaving World Championships

On Sunday 18th September at South Coogee Beach, The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite, Assistant Minster for Veterans & Defence Personnel, and Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving, farewelled the first ever military Veteran team to compete at the Lifesaving World Championships in Italy.

Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite said, “The Albanese Government is committed to supporting our serving personnel, veterans and families. And we are proud to see a team of current and former-serving military personnel from surf clubs across Australia competing now for the first time under a single cap. Team Veteran Australia is showing how sport at all levels of competition can benefit our nation’s veterans during and post-military service.”

Invictus Australia, with the support of Surf Life Saving Australia, was granted permission by the International Life Saving Federation to enter a combined military veteran team into the Riccione 2022 Lifesaving World Championship that runs from 18 September to 3 October, 2022.

Michael Hartung, CEO of Invictus Australia, says the inclusion of Team Veteran Australia in this year’s Surf Lifesaving World Championships is another example of the positive impact sport can have in the lives of veterans and their families.

“The power of sport has a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families. To see this team of veterans compete at the Surf Lifesaving World Championships provides another amazing example of how sport is providing aspiration, purpose, community and opportunity during and post service to connect.”

“Both competitive and community sport provide a range of opportunities and substantial physical and mental health benefits. Getting involved as a competitor, a social participant or a volunteer can help individuals and their families to tackle physical or mental health challenges they are facing or be a proactive way to prevent them in the first place. We hope this team of veterans serve as inspiration for others to get involved in sport.”

“We are thrilled to be able to support Team Veteran Australia on their journey to Riccione and wish them all the best.” Michael said.

Proceedings:

  • 1000: Invictus Australia CEO Michael Hartung acknowledged the support of the Government, wished the team luck and introduced team members to the Assistant Minister
  • 1005: Minister Thistlethwaite responded, presented competition caps to the team, while wishing them the best of luck
  • 1010: Team Manager Sean Lawler presented Minister Thistlethwaite with a Team Veteran Australia training shirt

Attendees:

  • The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Assistant Minister for Veterans, Defence Personnel and the Republic
  • Invictus Australia CEO Michael Hartung OAM
  • Team Veteran Australia members
    • Team Manager, Invictus Games alumnus & former-serving veteran Sean Lawler
    • SBLT Dana Richards, RAN, current serving veteran and competitor
    • Kelly Marsh, former-serving veteran & competitor
    • Louise Skjeime, current serving veteran and competitor
    • Chris O’Brien, former serving veteran & Invictus Games The Hague 2022 competitor

The original media release announcing Team Veteran Australia can be viewed here.

Team bios can be viewed here.

Media Contacts:

  • For interviews with competitors, results and photos during the World Championships, please contact Sean Lawler, Team Manager, Team Veteran Australia, +61 478 157 853
  • General Invictus Australia information. Vanessa Bernardo 0466 380 166, vbernardo@invictusaustralia.org
  • Ben Leeson (Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite’s Office): +61 0404 648 275
  • DVA Media: media.team@dva.gov.au

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