The Christmas period is when most of us get to spend that little bit of extra time with our families and loved ones and to catch up with old friends. It is also a time to reflect on those who won’t be able to spend Christmas with their families and friends, such as the thousands of Australian troops who are serving on operations far from home.
This holiday season, I encourage everyone in the electorate of Bonner to show their support for our troops by sending them a care package, a letter or donating to one of the many organisations that support our serving men and women.
To show your support for the troops this Christmas you can send them a care package, free of charge, through Australia Post. Australia Post allows free delivery for packages weighing no more than 2kg (cubed) to our soldiers on the front line.
When sending your parcel don’t forget to include a letter of support to the troops and include a stamped self addressed envelope so they can send a letter back to you. Parcels should be addressed to An Australian Defence Member and the mailing address and further details, including what to send and what not to send, can be found below.
Another option you may like to consider is donating money to the RSL’s Australian Forces Overseas Fund. The RSL provides care packages to Australian troops as well as Australian Federal Police personnel biannually, and your support would contribute to this valuable programme. Please see my website for further details regarding the RSL’s Australian Forces Overseas Fund.
Alternatively donations can be made to Legacy (www.legacy.com.au) or Soldier On (www.soldieron.org.au) to support those personnel who have been wounded on operations and those family members who are suffering financially and socially from the death of a loved one.
Last Christmas approximately 10 tonnes worth of care packages were distributed to personnel deployed overseas and I urge all Australians to again dig deep and support our serving men and women.
How to send a parcel to Troops:
Defence has amended its guidance since 2011 with relation to the sending of care packages, including what can be sent, so please be sure to read the following information carefully.
A care package can be sent free of charge to the below AFPO address so long as it strictly complies with Australia Post guidelines.
In order to qualify for free postage, care packages can weigh no more than 2kg (cubed) and should be packaged within a “BM” size box, which is available from Australia Post for approximately two dollars. You will also be required to present photographic identification, fill in some customs forms and it is suggested that you use a liberal amount of packing tape to ensure that all of the contents arrive at their destination.
In order to ensure parcels reach the widest possible number of personnel, please ensure they are gender neutral and address all parcels to “An Australian Defence Member” and not to a specific job title, trade or unit.
Additionally, please note that Defence is no longer able to accept care packages for Military Working Dogs or Explosive Detection Dogs due to their strict diet and training requirements.
The unique Australian Forces Post Office (AFPO) box will be open from 22 October until 7 December 2012. In order to ensure the packages reach the troops by Christmas, all packages should be lodged with Australia Post no later than 7 December 2012.
To send a care package or letter of support to an ADF member posted overseas, address the package or letter to:
An Australian Defence Member
ADF NSW 2890
What can be included in Care Packages
Be creative with donations while being mindful of Australia Post’s guidelines for the free delivery of care packages. Some suggestions are listed below, as are the general restrictions.
· Anzac biscuits
· Salted peanuts
· Muesli bars
· Instant Noodles
· Small tinned consumables
· Other commercially manufactured and packaged foods that are non-perishable
· Magazines – from Vogue and
· Puzzle books
· Letters of support
· Posters and letters from school
· Stamped, self addressed
· Deodorant (non aerosol)
· Shaving cream (non aerosol)
· Small bottle of talcum powder
· Disposable razors
· Shower Gel
· Lip Balm
What not to include
· Pornographic material
· Alcoholic beverages
· Any food prepared or cooked at
· Clothing (except socks)
· Pork products
· Perfumery products
Other Ways to Support the Troops this Christmas
Sending a care package to our troops is a great way to show support, but it may not always be practicable to do so. There are a number of other ways constituents may like to show their support for our troops and their families this Christmas.
Messages for the troops
For those constituents who would like to express their support through a simple letter, you may like to email your message to:
Please ensure you include your name, suburb and state at the top of the email message. Defence may publish your letter on Defence websites and social media sites so the message reaches more ADF members and their families. Personal details of the sender are not published.
For those who would prefer to send a message in the traditional way, there is the option of sending a postcard. The address details are:
Messages to the Troops
39 Personnel Support Battalion
Randwick Barracks NSW 2031