PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION REPORT

5 July 2019 : The Productivity Commission has now released its report.  It can be accessed at https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/veterans/report

The DFWA notes that the Report is extensive, over 900 pages and detailed - to a point.  Some issues that have ‘jumped out’ after a quick read of the Findings and Recommendations are;

a. The earlier recommendation that DVA morph into Defence has not been pursued - the Commissioners concede that the objections to the proposal were such that it would have been problematic to pursue.

b. The establishment of an independent statutory agency, 'Veterans Services Commission' to deliver the services with a  DVA to provide policy advice.

c. The Gold Card and its future is and will remain an emotive issue for consideration.

d. The establishment of a Joint Transition Authority - timely.

e. Formalise ADF responsibility to support veterans is urged.

f. Funding legal assistance at the AAT.

g.Harmonising the funeral allowance.

There are many others, many positive, some not so.  Veterans are urged to read the Findings and Recommendations but before they make comments review the actual part of the report as that explains how they reached their decision and will give interested people a chance to rebut the findings and recommendations.

The options are then to approach their favoured ESO to see what action they are taking or to approach your own local member in a respectful and considered manner.

Time is of the essence, the understanding is that the government has 25 sitting days to respond which means comments will need to be to local members well in advance of that and ESO’s even earlier.

Now is the time for veterans to take some initiative and let the government know what they think of the PC Recommendations and Findings.

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The Productivity Commission published its draft report into the administration of veterans support in December 2018.

- Attached are copies of the report overview and the complete draft report released by the Commission

- The DFWA Submission and the ADSO Submission to the Report were submitted in July 2018.

- The DFWA Submission and the ADSO Submission to the draft report, dated March 2019

AFTER THE DRAFT REPORT - THE NEXT STEPS !

Preconceived notions should not hold sway when we all agree that the, “veteran compensation and rehabilitation system is not fit for purpose; it requires fundamental reform; is out of date and is not working in the best interests of veterans and their families’.  We note that it is a DRAFT paper. The Draft Recommendations paper runs for 73 pages and contains some 50 recommendations; the Draft Report runs for over 700 pages. This latter document contains much background that reflects the input from ESOs and individuals from across the Defence Community. 

There is a call for further comment, with written submissions on the draft report required by 11 February 2019, and with public hearings in February across the country and a final report to government in June 2019. 

DFWA has made a submission on the draft report (see above).

 

JANUARY 2019 UPDATE (2)

The members of the Ex-Service Organisations Round Table (ESORT) recently met in Canberra to review the Draft Report and seek to develop a ‘one voice’ response.  A summary of that meeting by the DFWA National President is here.

JANUARY 2019 UPDATE (1)

The release of the DRAFT Productivity Commission Report, Inquiry into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans, in December 2018 caused a flurry of activity among many ESOs, particularly as the call was for responses to the draft by 11 February 2019. On request, an extension was approved to 28 February 2019, the date driven mainly because the Commission was scheduled to hand its final report to the Government by June 2019.  Considerable email traffic continued over Christmas and New Year. It became evident that many individuals, and some ESO leaders, were focussed on the detail in the Report rather than taking a strategic view to the once in a life time opportunity we, the veteran community, had to reset DVA for the future benefit of the broad veteran community.

A meeting of major ESOs and DVA was held on Tuesday 15 January 2019 in the DVA offices in Canberra, where a broad concensus of views was achieved.  A DFWA Media Release has been issued and the DFWA will put in a response to the Draft Report by the nominated date.

SOME AD-HOC COMMENTS RECEIVED TO DATE

DFWA is receiving numerous comments from members, by email or on our Facebook page, on the draft report. The following are some of the comments received, shown without further comment: 

FROM MEMBER A

I've not read the 700p thing but if the extracts in the emails below are any guide then we should focus on some key words:

1.    "Veteran" was watered down some time back and it looks like the PC report does not want to distinguish between op and non-op service.  The next step is to ignore op (active) service altogether, which means that the unique nature of mil service is no longer recognised, at least as far as disability support is concerned.

2.    "Injury" appears below but "wounded" does not.  If "wounded" does not appear elsewhere in the report then that's another nail in the coffin of the unique nature of mil service.  ADF people on op service are "killed" or "wounded".  We need to use these words (in context of course).

3.    It seems that RSL NSW's submission  used the word "prize" in relation to Gold Cards.  That usage is most unfortunate because critics of veterans will now argue from the specific to the general, i.e. if a Gold Card is seen as a prize by some then it must be seen as a prize by all vets.  And they'll say that not everybody can or should get a prize.  So perhaps nobody should...

4.    The very title of the report ("A better way to support veterans") sends the subliminal message that whatever the report says must be "better" than the extant system.  It may well be the case that much of the PC report finds better ways but the title's message is: 'Don't argue with us because everything we say is better.'  (But of course that's not necessarily the case.  Anyway, our line should be that we want the "best" way to support veterans.  "Better" is not good enough.)

 

FROM MEMBER B AND RESPONSE FROM MEMBER C

In reference to this paragraph “The tabling of  a document of this size and import at this time of year is a bit of a low blow and smacks of Government putting out announcement at the end of a week in the hope it gets buried/forgotten by the media.

I suggest that the “enemy” is the bureaucrats. The Government and all political parties recognise the uniqueness of military service and soon to be accepted the Veterans Covenant. IMO any Government that does anything contrary to those “principles” is committing political suicide. And it provides the Veterans community with the cement we need to raise a unified voice in protest.