Australian defense company Omni has announced a $100,000 commitment to military charity Bravery Trust to fund veteran-specific financial mentors for Australian Defense Force (ADF) veterans.

Now in his 10’se year, Omni has a long history of supporting former Australian servicemen and employs a large number of veterans. Entering its next decade, Omni said it wants to provide holistic and proactive support to veterans by partnering with the Bravery Trust, believing that industry must also play a role in supporting Australian veterans.

Omni’s donation to Bravery Trust will facilitate the employment of a “financial fitness mentor” to provide early financial education in the same way military personnel can access medical and fitness services.

Bravery Trust provides emergency financial assistance and financial counseling to veterans injured in service and those experiencing hardship. Seventy per cent of those who contacted Bravery Trust in a financial crisis are aged 50 or younger and many have recently involuntarily left the Australian Defense Force (ADF).

Omni Founder and CEO Jon Hawkins said the transition out of ADF, especially medical discharge, can be sudden and unplanned and financial stress adds to the trauma. Just over a quarter of transitioning veterans are medically released – the number has risen from 10% in 2007 to 27% in 2021. “We know financial issues are a critical pillar of veterans’ health veterans and finances have been identified by the royal commission as a factor in veteran suicides,” Hawkins said. “At Omni, we understand the importance of the private sector playing a proactive role in helping ADF personnel leave the service. As a veteran-owned and operated company, we are proud to provide former military personnel with the opportunity to apply their skills and continue contributing to our national security.

“We were thrilled to see over $500 million committed to support veterans in the recent federal budget and at Omni we believe industry must play a role in supporting our veterans as well. Not only by providing jobs, but by facilitating training and structures that will prevent crises and provide long-term support,” Hawkins added. “The benefits of physical exercise are well known throughout the Defense Force, both in terms of supporting mental and physical well-being. Financial fitness, while so incredibly important, has not received the same attention and we look forward to partnering with Bravery Trust to help the veteran community in this space.

Bravery Trust CEO Belinda Wilson said the financial aspects of supporting veterans are critical. “Not all veterans and their families are in crisis. But we have an obligation as a nation to support those who do. We ask them to risk their lives for our freedom and far too many people fall through the cracks, unsure or unable to find help when they need it most,” Wilson said. “Bravery Trust can help with immediate financial relief and provide independent, veteran-specific financial counseling to support engagement with creditors, landlords and banks, reduce debt and create a positive and holistic future path. The funding announced today by Omni allows us to go the extra mile and help veterans before a crisis hits – preparing them financially for life after ADF. It’s a proactive approach to dramatically improving outcomes for veterans after release from the ADF. said Wilson.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has identified a higher risk of suicide among former serving men who separate for medical or other involuntary reasons; and the Royal Commission on Veterans’ Defense and Suicide’s interim report found that the suicide rate among former serving men was higher for those on lower incomes.

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