THE Albanese Labor Government has invested an additional $328m in the 2023-24 Budget to support the more than 340,000 veterans and dependants accessing services through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), including more than 9,100 veterans in Blair.
This builds on the $537.5 million invested in the October 2022 Budget as part of the government’s commitment to ensuring a better future for veterans and their families.
The 2023-24 Federal Budget makes significant investments that will further reduce the veteran compensation claims backlog inherited from the former Government.
- $64.1m in 2023-24 to retain more than 480 DVA staff who are working to deliver frontline services to veterans and families; and
- $254m over four years to modernise and sustain ageing IT systems, and ensure more timely payments and access to services for veterans and families through DVA.
These investments support the government’s response to the interim recommendations of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
The eligibility has also been extended for the Acute Support Package (ASP) introduced in the October 2022 Budget to include ‘grandcarers’ – grandparents who are full-time carers of children of veterans.
This expansion acknowledges the different challenges experienced by families and provides services such as childcare, counselling, household assistance, education support and financial aid for veteran families in crisis.
The Government is also funding critical support capabilities and programs including $2 million to continue important mental health awareness and suicide intervention training for volunteers supporting veterans.
On the ground in Blair, DVA continues to consult with ex-service and other organisations on the roll-out of a $5m Ipswich Veterans’ and Families’ Hub, which was a key election commitment.
When to comes to support for Australian Defence Force personnel, the Government recently announced a $50,000 bonus payment for ongoing service, as part of a commitment to investing in the growth and retention of a highly-skilled Defence workforce.
To complement this initiative, the Government has also committed $2 million for a review into Defence housing.
Federal Blair MP, Shayne Neumann said the measures announced in this Budget are in addition to important reform work that is currently underway.
“It is our duty to repay in kind by providing effective transition, health and wellbeing support for veterans and their families in Ipswich and surrounding areas,” he said.