Families Of Veterans Guild

Veterans\’ Legislation Reform Update

A message from AWWNSW CEO Renee Wilson

Last week I attended a legislation consultation round table where the Minister for Veterans Affairs, The Hon Matt Keogh MP and DVA discussed the approach to veterans’ legislation reform. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you my key takeaways from that meeting and our next steps.

Key points from the roundtable

  1. No war widow or veteran will have benefits and entitlements removed from them as part of this process.
  2. The main proposal is from 2025 (date to be determined) all claims under the veteran system including war widows claims will be processed and made under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA).
  3. This means that war widows who would have in the past, had their claims assessed and determined under the Veterans\’ Entitlements Act (VEA) or Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence Related) Act (DRCA) will be covered by the MRCA.  This is a good outcome, as the package for war widows under MRCA is more generous than the VEA or DRCA.
  4. The main groups affected by this from our perspective will be those that are widowed from the change over date whose loved ones served in Vietnam, Korea and other operational areas until 2004.
  5. The appetite for significant change to the MRCA as it currently stands is limited (right now) however, there is an opportunity to put forward ideas and areas which need attention.

Next Steps

We will be writing a submission to the Government on the Legislation Reform. Within that submission we will:

  1. Propose a model for ensuring the mental health care for veterans’ families in a prioritised/ phased approach. With the priority being children who are bereaved by their parents passing. The second being the children of veterans who are wounded/ injured or ill as a result of their service.
  2. Discuss Transitional arrangements between effectively ‘turning off’ one Act one day and ‘turning on’ the MRCA on the next day and how inequities between claims made the day before will be sorted through.
  3. Ask that language used in the MRCA to refer to widowed partners and children be fixed to better meet contemporary standards and expectations. We do not think referring to these groups as “Wholly Dependent Partners” meets contemporary community standards.
  4. Ask that widows claims be considered under presumptive liability in certain circumstances.

We might not get all we ask for right now, but we are putting our issues on the table at the very least and we will be able to continue our advocacy on these matters.

If you would like to join us in making this submission, please write to us, we can attach your letters to the submission or you can of course send them directly to the legislation review team at: legislation.reform@dva.gov.au or post to GPO Box 9998 Brisbane QLD 4001.

You can also let us know your views by filling in this questionnaire

Submissions close on 12 May 2023.

We hope you will add your voice to this important and much over due reform.

Shopping Cart