Labor has condemned the Morrison Government for failing to provide a formal response to the Productivity Commission’s (PC) report A Better Way to Support Veterans within 12 months.
Today marks one year since the release of the final report of the PC’s inquiry into the veteran compensation and rehabilitation system, yet the Government has so far failed to publicly announce when it will respond, or whether it will adopt or reject any of the 69 recommendations in the report.
Federal Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Shayne Neumann, said the inaction was not good enough and an insult to all current and former defence personnel across the country, including in Eden-Monaro.
“Labor has been calling on the Government for some time to deliver its overdue response to the PC review of the veteran support system to provide certainty for our veterans,” Mr Neumann said.
“This landmark report found the veteran support system needs fundamental reform and there needs to be a much bigger focus on mental health and suicide prevention, civilian transition and support for families.
“However, it also included recommendations to abolish Gold Cards for veterans’ dependants and outsource Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) services to an independent commission, which has caused enormous concern among veterans and their families.
“I’ve called on the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester to rule out these proposals, but he has failed to do so, which has only created further anxiety in the veteran community,” he said.
NSW Shadow Minister for Veterans, Greg Warren, served in the Army for almost 10 years and said more veterans in NSW would unnecessarily fall through the cracks unless governments at both a state and federal level acted urgently.
“There are around 85,000 DVA clients in NSW, which shows just how many people are impacted by decisions relating to Australian Defence Force personnel,” Mr Warren said.
“The Berejiklian Government has failed to push its counterparts in Canberra to release a formal response to the PC report and as a result, tens of thousands of people throughout our state have been left in limbo.
“Reports, inquiries, studies, investigations – they are all useless unless they are actually acted on and used to create positive change.
“Make no mistake, this is a matter of life and death and our veterans can’t afford to wait any longer,” he said.
The clock is ticking and veterans deserve to know what the Government’s plans are when it comes to the veteran support system, and not continue to be left in the dark.