Soldier On welcomes the additional $350 million in funding for veteran and family support, outlined as part of last night’s 2017-18 Budget announcement.
Last night the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan spoke of a $33.5 million expansion of the non-liability health care program to cover all mental health conditions, as well as $8.5 million to expand eligibility for VVCS, which now includes partners, families and former partners of veterans.
Soldier On is pleased to see this increase in funding for mental health support for veterans and their families, and is delighted the government is recognising the impact of a veteran’s service on the entire family unit.
Soldier On is also pleased with the $166.6 million in funding to implement the first stage of Veteran Centric Reform to “modernise the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) antiquated ICT systems to provide easier access to DVA services.”
Last year, Soldier On outlined how archaic claims processes in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs made it difficult and time-consuming for veterans and families to access help.
We are hopeful this new funding to modernise the ICT systems of DVA will make life much easier for those impacted by their service to Australia who need to access support services.
We believe the government’s increased focus on supporting veterans and their families is another step forward in understanding the experiences of our contemporary veterans and their families, and providing adequate support services for them.
This new funding, combined with programs and services offered by veteran support organisations that focus on employment and education, mental health and social connectedness, ensures as a nation we are heading in the right direction when addressing issues impacting veterans and families, such as mental health issues, unemployment, homelessness, alcohol and substance abuse, and suicide.
As a community, there is still much work to do. We still need a deeper understanding of the issues our veterans and their families face. We still need to provide more employment and education opportunities. We still need to focus on more support services to help them reintegrate back into our communities after serving our country.
However, it is pleasing to see that addressing veteran issues is on the agenda of our current government, and funding has been allocated to do so.