A re-elected Turnbull Government will commit more resources to supporting mental health treatment, veterans’ employment and addressing homelessness.
Announcing the Turnbull Coalition’s veterans’ policy today, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said Australians were rightly proud of our veterans.
“As a country we must never forget the service and sacrifice of our veterans,” Mr Tehan said.
“We are committed to honouring that service by providing the support our veterans need through a stand-alone Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
More than 312,000 Australians rely on support from the DVA.
The Turnbull Government provided $11.7 billion in this year’s budget to support veterans through health care, income support pensions and allowances.
A re-elected Turnbull Government will invest an additional $14.9 million for veterans by providing:
- $6 million to support the establishment of the Centenary Institute to work collaboratively in support of practitioners and ex-service organisations who work closely with veterans with mental health concerns.
- $3.1 million to extend the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service programme, which provides free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions.
- $4 million to ex-service organisations to promote social inclusion and peer-to-peer support for our younger veterans.
- $600,000 to establish and run a Female Veterans’ Policy Forum to help identify policy gaps and support initiatives to better support Australia’s growing female veteran community.
- $1.2 million over four years to increase the amount veterans can claim for obtaining medical reports.
“The Centenary Institute will provide clinical research and professional leadership for veterans’ health. We are committed to early intervention and support for veterans and their families, that’s why $46.4 million was provided in this year’s budget so veterans could access free mental health treatment,” Mr Tehan said.
“Our veterans’ community is changing and we will invest money and resources into targeted and innovative programs that help them transition to civilian life, find meaningful employment and get the help they need for mental health treatment.
“We will engage with our younger veterans and our female veterans so they get the support they need in the ways they need it. We want every veteran to know we are grateful for their service.
“The Coalition will launch a new jobs programme for injured and ill veterans. Around 60 per cent of the veterans involved in the programme’s trials in South East Queensland and South Australia have been successfully placed into civilian employment.
“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will convene the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Initiative to bring together business leaders to find innovative ways to get our veterans into employment.
“Veterans have valuable skills and leadership experience gained in the service of our country and we want to find new ways for Australian businesses to identify and harness those talents.”
Mr Tehan said the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in a Turnbull Government would deliver an annual Ministerial statement to Parliament on the performance of the DVA and key issues for veterans.
“We are committed to the continual improvement of the support and services provided to our veteran community.
“We are also committed to being transparent and accountable to our veterans about the performance of the DVA through this annual Ministerial statement.”
Mr Tehan said the Turnbull Government would work with the states and territories to address veterans’ homelessness.
“We need a united approach to keep our veterans off the streets. A Turnbull Government will convene a special meeting of State and Territory Ministers to look at this issue. We will bring together existing research and support a nationwide study to improve our response.
“We will further require Commonwealth agencies to identify clients who are veterans and to make that information available to ex-service and other organisations to provide better support for homeless veterans.
“The Turnbull Government will not privatise or outsource any DVA services delivered through Medicare.”