October 29 - November 4, 2023: Issue 603


Invictus - Surf Life Saving Australia Join Forces to Support Veteran & Family Wellbeing 

Surf Life Saving Australia and Invictus Australia have united to support and promote the health and wellbeing of veterans and families with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club in Sydney. 

The Assistant Minister for Veteran's Affairs, the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, joined with Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) CEO Adam Weir and Invictus Australia CEO Michael Hartung on Saturday October 21 to formally announce the unique partnership that will provide opportunities and pathways for veterans and their families to participate in Surf Life Saving.  

Mr Thistlethwaite MP, a devoted surf lifesaver for over 30 years himself congratulated both organisations for the initiative and knows first-hand how the involvement in a surf lifesaving club will be beneficial for veterans and their families. 

He says, "The partnership between Surf Life Saving Australia and Invictus Australia reflects a shared commitment to promote mental and physical wellbeing for veterans and families. We know that sport can contribute to health and wellbeing, particularly when recovering from wounds, injury, or illness. This new alliance provides more local opportunities and pathways for veterans in Surf Life Saving. It means bringing more veterans together in their community, building mental resilience, and creating friendships." 

Invictus Australia is passionate about unleashing the power of sport to empower the Australian Defence Community, mentally, physically and socially at both a grassroots level and on the international stage. Given Surf Life Saving Australia's focus on service, strong communities, national footprint, international competitions, and promotion of active, outdoor lifestyles, the partnership aligns strongly with Invictus Australia's vision.  

Invictus Australia CEO, Michael Hartung, highlighted the significance of this partnership:

"At Invictus Australia, we believe in the potential of sport to proactively support wellbeing and create strong communities that offer many benefits for mental, physical and social health for our veterans and their families. There has been a long association between surf clubs and the Defence community, with the joint purpose to protect and preserve lives. This partnership is a natural fit and we look forward to creating more opportunities for our veterans and families."  

Surf Life Saving Australia has a history of safeguarding Australia's beaches and fostering a strong sense of community. Adam Weir, CEO of Surf Life Saving Australia, says the organisations shared values make this partnership a natural fit. 

 "We exist to save lives, create great Australians and build better communities. With more than 190,000 volunteers at 315 surf life saving clubs, community is at the heart of everything we do. We are proud to partner with Invictus Australia to enhance the health of veterans and families,” said Weir.  

“Together, we aim to create a supportive environment where the values of teamwork, resilience, and the joy of life by the water can positively impact those who have served our nation”.  

The MOU stands as a testament to the shared commitment of Invictus Australia and Surf Life Saving Australia to promote veterans' mental and physical wellbeing, foster a supportive community, and empower individuals to thrive beyond their service. 

This will be done through a range of opportunities including recognising transferable skills in volunteer roles at surf clubs across Australia, entering Team Invictus Australia as an interclub team at the 2024 Lifesaving World Championships on the Gold Coast and creating Club Open Days to introduce the Australian Defence Community to Surf Life Saving communities and provide new social connection points for veterans transitioning from service.