Member for Canning Andrew Hastie hosted the Minister for Veterans Affairs Dan Tehan on Saturday May 13, holding a BBQ and Q&A session at the North Dandalup Tavern for veterans from the region.
 
Mr Hastie said it was important people had access to their elected representatives, particularly Government Ministers.
 
“I’m pleased the Minister could be here to meet local veterans and answer their questions,” Mr Hastie said.
 
“Governments that front up and are accountable to the people are exactly what these men and women were prepared to fight and die for.”
 
In addition to answering questions Minister Tehan briefed the gathering of approximately 40 veterans on the $350 million package announced as part of the 2017-18 budget, saying it was a significant increase in funding and demonstrated the Government’s commitment to the men and women who defend our nation.
 
“The Government is focused on responding to the mental health needs of our former ADF personnel and providing support that will help them to achieve a fulfilling post-service life,” Mr Tehan said.
 
“In last year’s Budget, we made treatment for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and drug and alcohol misuse free for anyone who had served a day in the full-time ADF.
 
“The $33.5 million expansion of the non-liability health care program to cover all mental health conditions announced in the budget recognises that the earlier a veteran gets treatment, the better the health and other outcomes.
 
“Importantly, a veteran does not have to prove their mental health condition is related to their service. The funding for mental health treatment is demand-driven and not capped – if an eligible person requires treatment, it will be paid for.”
 
Additional Budget Measures Include
-  $133.1 million to provide Gold Cards for surviving participants of the British Nuclear Testing program and the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.
-  $8.5 million to expand eligibility for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).
-  $9.8 million to pilot new approaches to suicide prevention and improve care and support available to veterans, as an initial step in the Government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission’s report into suicide prevention services.
-  $2.7 million for the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program, used to support the recently established Industry Advisory Committee, create an Ex-Service Organisation Industry partnership register and develop and manage the annual Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards.
-  $166.6 million to implement the first stage of Veteran Centric Reform to modernise the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) ICT systems to provide easier access to DVA services.
-  $18.0 million as part of the Government’s Energy for the Future Package so more than 235,000 DVA clients will receive a one-off payment for energy bills.
-  $9.1 million for accelerated access to rehabilitation services, streamlined access to Incapacity Payments, and improved access to the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated disability pension for veterans working past the age of 65.
-  $1.2 million to continue the income support bonus for DVA clients receiving an Education Allowance under either the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme (VCES), or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme (MRCAETS).
-  $5.0 million to develop a first pass business case for the Australian War Memorial to examine ways to provide additional exhibition space.