Labor condemns the Morrison-Joyce Government for its failure to accept the recommendation of a bipartisan Senate inquiry that the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) pension for disabled veterans be increased.
The Government’s “response” to the independent inquiry is just another blow for TPI veterans, and just goes to show that this is a government that’s all about the announcement but never about delivery when it comes to Australia’s veterans.
The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Inquiry into the TPI Payment (Special Rate of Disability Pension) reported on 1 July 2021 and recommended that the Government consider an increase in the TPI Payment.
At the time, Labor called on the Government to respond to the committee’s unanimous recommendation, which would ensure our most disabled veterans are not left behind.
However, in its response to the inquiry that has just been tabled, all the Government could say was that it notes the recommendation and will take it into account when considering future policy options for support to TPI veterans.
This is a huge slap in the face for Australia’s 27,000 TPI veterans.
The Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen and Women (TPI Federation) has been raising the issue of the TPI Payment for several years, but the Liberal-National Government has completely ignored their concerns.
Before the 2019 election, the Prime Minister effectively promised to increase the payment, but since then he has ignored his own colleagues’ advice and failed to raise the pension.
After sitting on a review of the TPI Payment for more than a year, Scott Morrison announced in last year’s Budget that he would only provide rent assistance to around 10 per cent of TPI veterans, leaving most disgusted they will miss out.
In response to Labor’s questions in Senate Estimates last year, it was revealed these benefits would not start to flow until September 2022 while they made changes to legislation and IT systems.
Following pressure from Labor and TPI veterans, the Government brought this forward to January 2022, but has still failed to legislate the changes and is running out of time to deliver them.
On top of this, we know that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is struggling to deal with a huge backlog of veterans’ claims for a disability pension, with 68 per cent of claims yet to be finalised as of April this year.
It’s just not good enough and our veterans and their families deserve better. Only Labor is on the side of Australia’s ex-service men and women.
The Senate inquiry report and Government response can be found here.