In the process of carrying out investigations and reviews, and exercising its powers to determine SOPs, the RMA undertakes consultation with a wide range of interested parties and stakeholders via a number of long-standing arrangements. These parties and stakeholders include those specified in section 196E of the VEA, as well as the Veterans' Review Board (VRB), the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and the Specialist Medical Review Council (SMRC).
- Commencing an investigation
- Finalising an investigation
- Consultation in relation to the repeal of a SOP or removal of a factor from a SOP
- General consultation
Commencing an investigation
- The RMA advertises its intention to undertake an investigation (of a condition for which no SOP has been determined or a review of some or all of the contents of an existing SOP) in relation to a particular injury, disease or death in the Government Notices Gazette;
- The RMA formally writes to each of the major national Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs), as well as the Repatriation Commission, Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, VRB, AAT and SMRC, to advise of the investigation;
- The RMA includes an announcement of the investigation on its website, and includes the investigation in the list of outstanding investigations available on the website, as well as a copy of the Gazette notice.
The Gazette notice specifies who may make a submission, how and to where such a submission should be provided, and where further information may be obtained. A date for the first meeting of the RMA to consider the matter, and an indicative deadline for submissions, are included in each notice.
Finalising an investigation
- Where the RMA finalises an investigation in relation to a particular injury, disease or death by determining new SOPs, revoking and reissuing existing SOPs or determining amendment SOPs, it registers the instruments with the Federal Register of Legislation (FRL – a section of the Attorney Generals Department). Each SOP, and an Explanatory Note, is published on the FRL website and tabled in both Houses of Parliament;
- Where the RMA concludes an investigation in relation to a particular injury, disease or death by determining not to make or amend a SOP, or to revoke and not reissue a SOP, it publishes a declaration of the decision in the Government Notices Gazette;
- The RMA formally writes to each of the major national Ex-Service Organisation (ESOs), as well as the Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, to advise of the decision;
- The RMA includes an announcement of the decision reached in relation to a finalised investigation on its website, and includes a copy of either the SOP, the Amendment SOP or a declaration providing reasons for the decision, as applicable.
Consultation in relation to the repeal of a SOP or removal of a factor from a SOP
Where, as the result of the RMA investigation in relation to a particular injury, disease or death, it is proposed to revoke (and not reissue) SOPs or remove one or more factors from a SOP, the RMA formally writes to each of the major national Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs), as well as the Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission. The RMA advises of the proposed decision and includes a copy of the current SOP, the draft proposed SOP and a list of the medical-science utilised in arriving at its conclusions. Each organisation is provided with a period of at least 2 months to make a submission in relation to the proposal before the RMA finalises its decision.
The RMA also undertakes consultation with its stakeholders of a general nature by:
- maintaining an up-to-date website with information about its activities, investigations and decisions, as well as a subscriber service and ‘contact us’ facility on the website, whereby feedback and comments can be provided;
- regularly attending and addressing meetings with stakeholder organisations;
- mail and email.