Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel

FEDERAL LABOR IS BACKING NORTH QUEENSLAND VETERANS AND DEFENCE PERSONNEL

April 29, 2022

An Albanese Labor Government will support The Oasis Townsville Veteran Wellbeing Centre to develop and pilot a new smart phone app to help Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel better plan their transition to civilian life.

Ex-service organisations and veteran hubs play an important role in supporting the wellbeing of veterans and their families.

The Oasis Townsville is an outstanding example of how well this model can work and is already collaborating with a range of organisations to provide integrated support services to help ADF members in North Queensland make the transition to ‘civvy street’.

This $4.5 million investment from Labor will assist Oasis to bring all of these services together in a user-friendly online tool or smartphone app, to be dubbed “Operation Navigator”.

The app will be designed in collaboration with ADF commanders, and the Department of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs, and trialled with service personnel who are preparing to separate from the ADF to support their life planning.

If the trial proves successful, the Oasis “Op Navigator” could be rolled out across the country to help ADF personnel with coordinated transition planning, and would take some of the current transition workload off busy ADF commanders. 

Around 600 ADF members and their families from Townsville transition back to civilian life each year.

However, for many the process can be stressful and hard to navigate, and this can lead to problems of mental illness, unemployment, homelessness, and even suicide.

The aim is that “Op Navigator” will help to streamline the transition process and make it a more positive experience for our ADF members and their families.

This commitment builds on Labor’s $519.2 million plan to repair a decade of damage and neglect in Veterans’ Affairs under the LNP, and strengthen the services veterans and their families count on, which was announced in Townsville last week. 

This package includes $226.3 million for 500 frontline staff in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to cut claim waiting times, $60.1 million to expand the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme, and $24 million to support veteran employment.

Comments attributable to Shayne Neumann, Shadow Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Minister: 

“Report after report in recent years has said we need to do more when it comes to veterans’ transition.

“We expect the current Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, which Labor called for, will make a range of recommendations in this space.

“But we need to get ahead of the game, so an Albanese Labor Government will support The Oasis Townsville to start developing a tool now to help our defence personnel better prepare for civilian life.”

Comments attributable to Labor candidate for Herbert, John Ring: 

“This is a fantastic commitment from Labor for the Townsville region and for our local Defence people.

“As a veteran myself, anything that will make the transition to civvy street smoother will be a good thing.

“I know The Oasis Townsville is a terrific community asset here in North Queensland and is well placed to come up with a solution that works for our ADF personnel.”

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