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Sep 08

Media Releases

Australia

The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Increasing veterans’ workforce participation

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today said that more veterans could now access the Special and Intermediate Rate of Disability Pension as a result of a 2017-18 Budget initiative.

The eligibility criteria for the Special and Intermediate Rate of Disability Pension under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 has been amended to remove work history restrictions for veterans aged 65 and over.

“The amendment removes the requirement for veterans to have worked continuously for 10 years with the same employer,” Mr Tehan said.

“For self-employed veterans, it removes the requirement to have worked a minimum of 10 years in the same profession, trade, vocation or calling.

“This provides more flexibility for veterans to change employers or employment and better reflects the modern work environment.

“This Budget measure is part of a suite of initiatives being implemented to streamline access to incapacity payments, amend outdated legislation and improve rehabilitation outcomes for veterans.”

For more information on the 2017-18 Budget measures, visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Energy Assistance Payment for veterans and their families

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today said that 233,000 Department of Veterans’ Affairs clients last week received a one-off payment to help with rising energy costs.

Mr Tehan said that the Energy Assistance Payment (EAP) was announced in the 2017-18 Budget and is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting the men and women who defend our nation.

Veterans and dependants receiving an eligible compensation payment will receive a payment of $75.

This includes those in receipt of a Service Pension who will receive $75 for singles and $62.50 per member of a couple.

“The Government recognises that there are times when veterans require additional financial support,” Mr Tehan said.

“This Budget measure will assist veterans and their families who have been affected by increasing energy prices.”

The EAP is a non-taxable payment and does not count as income for the purposes of means testing.

The payment will also be made to eligible Centrelink customers who are Age Pensioners, Disability Support Pensioners and Parenting Payment Single Recipients.

For more information on the EAP visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Website.

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Saturday, 8 July 2017

Recognising the service of Indigenous Australians

As Australians celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during NAIDOC Week, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan has today paid tribute to Indigenous ex-servicemen and women.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a very long and proud history of serving in all sectors and units within the Australian Defence Force through the wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations that Australia has participated in from the Boer War through to present-day conflicts,” Mr Tehan said.

“Many of these men and women are the unsung heroes who pushed through adversity to enlist and serve their country. Their contribution is all the more significant when viewed against their lack of citizenship rights and early policies that discouraged and limited their enlistment.”

The Minister also acknowledged the commitment of Indigenous members post-service.

“Many of today’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ex-servicemen and women work tirelessly in the ex-service community to assist others in need. For them it’s not about skin colour, it’s about being there for their mates, because the bonds formed in service last a lifetime,” Mr Tehan said.

Mr Tehan noted that some Indigenous ex-servicemen and women may be unaware of the support available to them from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“I encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to receive support from the Department to come forward.

“Visit the DVA website or phone 133 254 or freecall 1800 155 254 from regional Australia.

“We need to spread the word about the proud history of Indigenous service but also ensure they are accessing the support and services available to them.”

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6 July 2017

Supporting Younger Veterans Grants announced

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today announced nearly $240,000 in Government funding would be provided to deliver innovative and sustainable services for younger veterans.

Mr Tehan said the Supporting Younger Veterans grants recognised the unique needs of younger veterans.

“Every year thousands of young Australians leave the defence forces having served their nation with honour and distinction,” Mr Tehan said.

“We honour that service in many ways, including the support that is available from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and our work to improve employment opportunities through the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program.

“Through the Supporting Younger Veterans grants program, organisations around Australia will receive funding to develop innovative programs to meet the needs of our younger veterans.

“These programs include the creation of a motorcycle servicing facility for younger veterans, the establishment of a military style physical training program coordinated by younger veterans and a program that would encourage younger veterans into a university, and avenues to access a business accelerator program.

“The Government will also assist organisations promote partnership arrangements so there is a more national approach to services for younger veterans.”

A list of the grants is attached. All funding listed is GST exclusive.

Applications for the next round of Supporting Younger Veterans grants will be available from 1 July 2017 and will close on 1 September 2017.

For more information about the Supporting Younger Veterans program, contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on 133 254 or email DVA.Processing.Team@dva.gov.au.

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5 July 2017

Grants support veterans and their communities

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan announced today that veterans, their families and local communities around Australia would benefit from more than $473,000 in Government grant funding for community projects.

Mr Tehan said grant funding had been provided to 30 community projects under the Veteran and Community Grants program.

“This grant program provides money to local community organisations so they can better support our veterans and their families,” Mr Tehan said.

“Many of the projects received funding to organise social outings for veterans or upgrade and repair veteran community centres.

“These are local projects where Government money will be spent in the community to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women who serve in defence of our nation.

“Ex-service and community organisations, veteran representative groups and private organisations are encouraged to apply for funding to support projects that promote improved independence and quality of life for veterans through the Veteran and Community Grants program.”

For more information or to apply visit the DVA website (www.dva.gov.au/consultation-and-grants/grants).

A list of grant recipients in each state is attached. All figures are GST exclusive.

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5 July 2017

Addressing the Victorian RSL State Congress

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today called on the Victorian veteran community to help spread the important message about the mental health support available to former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and expanding services for families of veterans.

Mr Tehan told the Victorian RSL State Congress in Melbourne that the Government had provided an additional $350 million in this year’s Budget to support the men and women who defend our nation.

Mr Tehan said an additional $8.5 million had been provided to expand eligibility for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) while $33.5 million had been provided to expand non-liability health care to cover all mental health conditions.

“Partners and children of our contemporary veterans who have had at least one day of full-time service now have access to the services and support provided by VVCS, including counselling and group programs,” Mr Tehan said.

“Former partners of eligible ADF personnel are also able to access VVCS for up to five years after a couple separates or while co-parenting a child under the age of 18.

“One of the most important measures in this year’s Budget is the expansion of non-liability health care to cover all mental health conditions.

“This means the Government will pay for the mental health treatment of anyone who has served even one day in the full-time ADF and there is no requirement to prove that the condition is related to military service. Treatment is also available for as long as it is needed.

“Today I am calling on the Victorian RSL, and the broader veteran community, to share this information with all current and former members of the ADF and their family members. Importantly, if you think you need help or someone you know needs help, please ask for it – just contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.”

For more information, call 133 254 (metropolitan callers) or 1800 555 254 (regional callers), email NLHC@dva.gov.au or visit www.dva.gov.au/nlhc. If anyone needs immediate help, they can phone VVCS at any time on 1800 011 046.

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1 July 2017

Safeguarding veterans’ pharmaceutical benefits

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today announced additional funding to ensure Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) clients would continue to have access to pharmaceuticals through the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS). 

“From 1 July 2017, the Australian Government will provide $663,000 in additional funding over five years for 35 pharmaceutical items,” said Mr Tehan.

“The funding will safeguard the availability of 34 items, one new listing and the addition of five generic brands.”

The generic brands treat insomnia, skin cancer, fungal mouth infections, diarrhoea and assist in preserving bone mineral density.

Microdacyn, a sterile irrigation solution that assists in the treatment of wounds and is applied as a topical wound healing agent, will be added to the RPBS.

These additions reflect new therapies becoming available, generic brands coming onto the market and pharmaceutical sponsors seeking to vary prices.

“The Australian Government is continuously exploring ways to provide more pharmaceutical options at a lower cost to veterans,” Mr Tehan said.

“Australia will always be grateful to our veterans for the service they have provided to the nation.  Ensuring access to affordable medications is one way the Government demonstrates our appreciation.”

The full list of changed items is available at: New, Amended and Deleted Items.

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30 June 2017

Response to National Mental Health Commission review

The Government is delivering improved mental health support for current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and their families.

The Government today outlined the work it is doing on mental health and suicide prevention in its response to the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) Review into the Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Services available to current and former serving ADF members and their families. The Government’s response is available here (www.dva.gov.au/nmhcreview).

The NMHC review helped inform the Government’s action on veterans’ mental health in this year’s Budget, which included an additional $58.6 million in mental health funding.

The Government will now pay for the treatment of all mental health conditions affecting anyone who has served one day in the full-time ADF. This program is fully funded and uncapped. If an eligible veteran needs treatment the Government will pay for it.

The Government will provide a further $8.5 million to expand eligibility for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) to cover partners and children of current and former ADF members who have had one day of full-time service. Importantly, this now includes ex-partners for up to five years after separation or while co-parenting a child.

Funding of $9.8 million was also provided to pilot innovative approaches to suicide prevention and enhanced support. The Mental Health Clinical Management Pilot will assess the benefits of providing intensive clinical management to help meet a veteran’s complex mental health and social needs on discharge from a mental health hospital, and a pilot expansion of the Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) program will target improved support for veterans with both chronic physical and mental health conditions.

Funding of $6.9 million was provided to improve access to incapacity payments to provide targeted ongoing support for veterans who are vulnerable to financial and employment insecurity due to the episodic nature of their mental health conditions.

The NMHC recognised the importance of a smooth transition from the ADF to
post-service life. Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) are working closely together to improve that process.

The first stage of the Early Engagement Model (EEM) commenced in December 2016, with the first 5,000 new and separating members registered. The aim of the EEM is that when a serving/former ADF member needs DVA in the future, they will already be registered as a client.

Improved transition services are also being rolled out to support ADF members and their families. The new support services include individual coaching and mentoring with a focus on helping ADF personnel find meaningful post-service employment.

The Government is also delivering its ‘No Discharge Without Documentation’ initiative that will ensure all separating members of the ADF leave with the necessary documents to make the transition phase more seamless.

The Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program was launched in November 2016 with the aim of helping veterans find meaningful post-service employment and assisting business recognise the unique and valuable talents of former ADF personal.

The Government agrees with the NMHC that: “continued attention is needed to ensure efforts are effective in preventing suicide and self-harm amongst Australia’s current and former serving personnel and their families”.

Part of the Government’s evolving response to mental health challenges and suicide in the current and former ADF communities is utilising data to improve our understanding of the issue and inform policy decisions.

Later this year, the Government will release the outcomes of the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme, which is the largest study undertaken on the mental, physical and social health of current and former ADF members and their families.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) today released its second tranche of data on the incidence of suicide among current and former ADF members. Their report can be read here (http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129559898).

These figures are the first accurate, robust data ever produced on suicide among the serving, reserve and ex-serving populations.

Starting tomorrow [1 July], the AIHW and DVA will commence a three-year strategic relationship to monitor and report on the current status and future needs of veterans and their families. This work will help us to develop a more comprehensive picture of their health and welfare, and inform future policy and services.

The AIHW study is an important part of the Government’s action on improving mental health and preventing suicide among current and former ADF.

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28 June 2017

Claims Management Forum

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said a national forum today in Canberra would investigate ways to improve the claims process for veterans.

Mr Tehan said the Claims Management Forum delivered a Coalition election promise and would help improve the service to veterans provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).

Representatives from the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL), War Widows’ Guild of Australia, Defence Families Australia, Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, TPI Federation Australia, Australian Special Air Service Association, Defence Force Welfare Association, Legacy Australia, Naval Association of Australia, Vietnam Veterans’ Federation of Australia, Royal Australian Air Force Association, Royal Australian Regiment Corporation, and the Department of Defence will attend.

“When I first became Minister for Veterans’ Affairs the veteran community told me there were problems with the claims process and the Government has made it a priority to address those,” Mr Tehan said.

“In this year’s Budget, the Government provided a significant investment of $166.6?million to begin the modernisation of DVA’s antiquated ICT systems, which will improve the claims process for veterans and provide easier access to DVA services.

“This forum keeps an election commitment and is part of an important reform program that will help DVA understand where improvements can be made by listening to the veterans who are part of the system.

“The Government wants to listen to the veteran community about how to improve the claims process to make their lives better.”

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24 June 2017

Addressing Queensland RSL State Congress

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today called on the Queensland veteran community to help spread the important message about the mental health support available to former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.

Mr Tehan told the Queensland RSL State Congress in Brisbane the Turnbull Government had provided an additional $350 million in this year’s Budget to support the men and women who defend our nation.

“One of the most important measures in this year’s Budget was the $33.5 million expansion of non-liability health care to cover all mental health conditions,” Mr Tehan said.

“This means the Government will pay for the mental health treatment of anyone who has served one day in the full-time ADF and there is no requirement to prove that condition was related to military service.

“If anyone has served one day in the full-time ADF and needs treatment for any mental health condition, the Government will pay for it.”

“Today I am calling on the Queensland RSL, and the broader veteran community, to get this message out to all current and former members of the ADF: if you think you need help or someone you know needs help, please ask for it – just contact DVA.”

Mr Tehan said the Government had also provided $8.5 million to expand eligibility for the Veteran and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).

“Partners and children of our contemporary veterans—who have had at least one day of full-time service—will now have access to the services and support provided by VVCS, including counselling and group programs.

“Former partners of eligible ADF personnel will also be able to access VVCS for up to five years after a couple separates or while co-parenting a child under the age of 18.”

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21 June 2017

Vale Con Sciacca

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan has paid tribute to the late Hon Con Sciacca, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs from 1994-1996, who passed away today.

“Con Sciacca was a dearly loved husband, father, grandfather, friend, neighbour colleague and much, much more,” Mr Tehan said.

“As the tributes to Mr Sciacca flow from the many people whose lives were touched by Con, I would like to add mine in recognition of his great contribution as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

“As Minister, Con Sciacca was instrumental in running the Australia Remembers program, but he is better remembered by Australia’s Defence community for the genuine respect he had for our veterans and the deep interest he took in their welfare.”

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  Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546)

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