Labor welcomes the Productivity Commission’s (PC’s) final report into compensation and rehabilitation for veterans, which has now been released by the Government.
The report sets out the PC’s findings and recommendations on a better way to support veterans.
The key message is that despite recent improvements to the system, the current veterans' compensation and rehabilitation system requires fundamental reform.
The report found the system is complicated, hard to navigate, inequitable and poorly administered, and some programs are outdated.
It acknowledges the deep concerns which veterans have been raising about the system for some time and that Labor has echoed.
Labor is pleased that the PC has listened to the views of veterans and pulled back from a recommendation in its interim report to abolish the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) as a standalone department.
The Department needs reform, however Labor firmly believes a standalone agency should remain responsible for our veterans and their families.
The Government needs to rule out abolishing DVA.
Each of the recommendations in the report should be given serious consideration.
Labor believes there is a need for improved governance structures that support a lifetime wellbeing approach to supporting veterans and their families.
Labor welcomes the report’s finding that a greater focus is needed on prevention of injuries and illness, including mental health and suicide, as well as rehabilitation and transition.
Labor agrees with the recommendation that more research is needed to better understand the mental health impacts of service life on families and how they can be best supported.
The report also highlights the need for greater stakeholder engagement, better family engagement and support, and improved funeral benefits for veterans.
Labor will work through the details of the final report and will work with the government to improve the system for our veterans and their families.
The health and wellbeing of our veterans should be our highest priority.
We need a system that is fit-for-purpose and that works in the best interests of veterans, their families and the Australian community.