Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP says hundreds of veterans and their families in his electorate will benefit from greater access to mental health services, with the 2017-18 Budget delivering a $350 million increase in funding to support past and present defence personnel.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Dan Tehan visited the Great Southern today on invitation from Mr Wilson, meeting with local RSL branches and other community groups to discuss the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting the men and women who have served the nation.
Measures announced in this week’s Budget included $33.5 million to expand non-liability healthcare to cover treatment for all mental health conditions for anyone who has served a single day in the fulltime ADF.
An additional $8.5 million has been invested to widen eligibility for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service, as the Government recognises that military service also affects partners and families of former ADF personnel.
Mr Wilson said the 2017-18 Budget would boost the level of support available for hundreds of families in his electorate.
“The 886 veterans and their families living in O’Connor will benefit from the move to expand eligibility for the VVFCS, which is a vital support service for our ex-servicemen and women,” he said.
“We’ve also invested in modernising the Department of Veterans Affairs ICT systems to improve access to the services offered and expedite processing times for claims.
“There are more than 1500 DVA clients living in O’Connor and I’m pleased we’re investing in initiatives that will improve access to the services provided by the Department.
“Our veterans have made an invaluable contribution to their country and it’s absolutely essential that we recognise and thank them for their service.”
Mr Tehan said Mr Wilson had been a passionate advocate for the veterans of O’Connor.
“The citizens of O’Connor have a permanent and powerful reminder of the service and sacrifice of the Australians who serve in defence of our nation with the National Anzac Centre in Albany,” Mr Tehan said.
“The significant increase in funding to support veterans mental health and their families in this year’s budget is another powerful way we honour the men and women who serve our nation.
“The Government’s commitment to meeting the needs of our veterans is driven by strong local MPs, like Rick Wilson, who are listening to the veterans in their electorate and helping us help them.”