The Federal Government is continuing to provide mental health and employment support for veterans and their families to the tune of $11.7 billion a year, as part of our economic recovery plan to guarantee the essential services Australians rely on.
Northern Beaches MP, Jason Falinski said the 1,753 and 1,276 veterans and their families in Mackellar and Warringah respectively, would benefit through the Government's 2020–21 Budget measures, which included more than $100 million to bolster mental health support, as well as assistance to help veterans find a job after service.
“The budget responds to a number of issues members of the veteran and ex-service community have raised with me,” Mr Falinski said.
“We are providing $94.3 million to increase funding to mental health and community nursing providers, and training psychiatrists in veteran and military mental health.
Centre Manager at the Veterans Centre Sydney Northern Beaches (VCSNB), Nicole Noakes said she was encouraged by the budget announcements, but that there is still more work to do.
“Whilst more work is still required to ensure that education and training is accessible across the ex-service community in order to highlight the myriad of support programs available to veterans, we are encouraged by the budget announcements to see veterans care coordination services being well supported during these tough times.” Ms Noakes said.
“The Veterans Centre Sydney Northern Beaches is a trusted and independent point of contact for those current and former service personnel and their families needing assistance.”
VCSNB Staff and Volunteers are trained to connect veterans and family members with appropriate specialist services to meet individual medical, physical or vocational needs.
To support veterans to have the best possible transition from the Australian Defence Force and find a job after service, the Federal Government is investing $23.7 million in a Joint Transition Authority and expanding the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program to provide more support to those transitioning veterans who may be interested in starting their own business.
Many of these measures are in reply to the Government’s interim response to the Productivity Commission’s report. This interim response most notably rules out any changes to the Gold Card, providing certainty to the ex-service community.
$113.2 million is also being provided for two $250 economic support payments to more than 225,000 veterans and their families to help support and stimulate the Australian economy. Mr Falinski added: “These payments are part of the ongoing response to the global coronavirus pandemic. They will assist veterans, while also stimulating the economy.”
“In Mackellar and Warringah we have a rich veteran and ex-service community who I have no doubt will appreciate these measures and recognise the Liberal Government’s commitment to putting veterans and their families first.”
The Budget also provides:
• $2.4 million to provide care coordination for veterans with accepted mental health conditions. The Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program is a team-based approach to health care which involves GP-led coordination of a veteran’s treatment.
• $5.0 million to expand the Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling Peer Support program in Nowra and Maryborough, as well as expanding digital mental health support in rural and regional areas.
• $25.9 million in response to the Independent Review of the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Payment, providing more support to severely impaired veterans that are renting as well as streamlining administration arrangements.
More information on all of DVA's 2020–21 Budget measures is available on the DVA website.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester said the Government was committed to putting veterans and their families first.
“This year has been a difficult one and I want to assure veterans and their families that they are at the forefront of the Government’s thinking and urge anyone who is struggling to reach out. Help is available and you don’t have to go it alone,” Mr Chester said
Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling is available to current and former ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046. This support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.