Consultation open on

veterans' legislation reform

The Federal Labor Government has released exposure draft legislation which will simplify and harmonise the century old veterans’ entitlements, compensation, and rehabilitation system.

Dr Gordon Reid addressing the Vietnam Veterans at Ettalong Beach.

17 April 2024

 

THE current system of veterans' legislation is difficult to understand and complex to administer. The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide found the system was “so complicated that it adversely affects the mental health of some veterans and can be a contributing factor to suicidality.”

 

Following consultation, the draft legislation will simplify the veteran compensation system, with all claims to be considered under a single Act. Under the new system:

 

*All new claims for compensation and rehabilitation from the date of commencement would be assessed under a single Act, an improved Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA);

 

The Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 would be closed to new claims following commencement of the new arrangements; and

 

*All benefits being received under existing schemes will continue unaffected under grand-parenting arrangements. Any new claims after the commencement date (including claims for worsening of pre-existing conditions) will be assessed under the improved MRCA.

 

There will also be a number of improvements including:

 

*Introduction of a new Additional Disablement Amount to provide similar benefits as the Extreme Disablement Adjustment for those post retirement age;

 

making the higher travel allowance under MRCA available to all veterans and for all kilometres travelled;

providing a pathway for veterans currently only covered by DRCA to qualify for the Specialist Medical Review Council and a Gold Card if they have a new claim accepted; and

 

*increasing the general funeral allowance to $3,000 with the amount previously set at $2,000.

 

The release of the draft legislation follows the Government’s earlier consultation on a pathway to simplify the veterans’ legislative framework, and provide better support to veterans and their families. Feedback from that consultation has guided the proposed changes announced.

 

Federal Member for Robertson, Dr Gordon Reid said “I welcome feedback and submissions from the veteran community and general public on the draft Veterans’ Entitlements, Treatment and Support (Simplification and Harmonisation) Bill 2024, submissions close on 28 April 2024.

 

“As we approach ANZAC Day, let us never forget the sacrifices of our Australian defence personnel, and their families.”

 

More information on the proposed legislation changes, and opportunities to provide feedback can be found here.

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