DFWA advocates for policies, not politicians nor political parties.
Labor released its Veterans’ Policies for the 2022 Federal Election – “Labor’s Plan to Address the Veterans Crisis”.
The details of the plan are extracted below.
Cutting Waiting Times by Boosting Department of Veterans’ Affairs Staffing
An Albanese Labor Government will cut waiting times and the backlog of compensation claims by rebuilding DVA, investing in 500 staff at a cost of $226.3 million to speed up claims processing times in the department. Labor will also abolish the arbitrary public service staffing cap, which will allow DVA to hire more well-trained permanent workers to process claims faster.
Labor will invest $42.9 million to develop 10 veteran hubs across Australia in South West Perth, Northern Adelaide, the North Brisbane-Moreton Bay region, Ipswich, Queanbeyan, the Hawkesbury region, the Hunter, the Tweed and North Coast region, Surf Coast and Geelong region, and Tasmania. Delivery of these hubs would commence as soon as possible after the election for completion by 2024-25.
The hubs will be delivered in consultation with local veteran communities and in partnership with State Governments and community and ex-service organisations to provide veterans with access to local services and support for veterans’ transition to civilian life.
Boosting Defence Home Ownership
The Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme provides eligible defence personnel and veterans with a monthly subsidy on mortgage interest payments and is an important housing benefit provided to assist current and former ADF members purchase their own home.
Labor will commit $60.1 million to relax the eligibility criteria for DHOAS by reducing or removing minimum service requirements for each subsidy tier from 1 January 2023.
ADF personnel and veterans buying a house in a regional centre like Townsville or Darwin will also be able to take advantage of Labor’s Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme, which will save buyers up to $32,000 in mortgage insurance and allow them to secure a home with a deposit as low as 5 per cent.
Increasing the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Veterans Pension
An Albanese Labor Government will introduce a $1,000 permanent increase in the annual rate of the TPI Payment for Australia’s 27,000 TPI veterans from 1 January 2023. A one-off increase of $1,000 in the annual rate is equivalent to an increase of $38.46 per fortnight, so the TPI Payment would increase from $39,488.80 per year to $40,488.80 per year, or from $1,518.80 to $1,557.26 per fortnight if introduced now (it will apply to the new payment rates following the next indexation adjustment in September). This will cost $97.8 million.
Veteran Employment Program
An Albanese Labor Government will commit $24 million over four years to ensure veterans’ skills and experience are valued and appreciated by the wider community. This will be achieved through initiatives to raise awareness of the benefits of employing veterans, helping businesses to train veterans, supporting veterans’ education and training, translating the experience of veterans, and promoting veteran businesses.
Defence and Veteran Family Engagement and Support Strategy
An Albanese Labor Government will develop a national family engagement and support strategy, which will provide a blueprint for engagement by Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) with military families and identify improvements to family support. This policy will complement the comprehensive Family Support Package legislation that Labor supported but the Government failed to pass during this Parliamentary term. The cost of this policy would be absorbed by Defence and DVA.
Veteran Homelessness Plan
Labor will invest $30 million over five years to build housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or are at-risk of homelessness. This will be part of a $10 billion off-budget Housing Australia Future Fund an Albanese Labor Government will create to build social and affordable housing now and into the future.
Disaster Relief Australia
Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) runs the National Veteran Volunteer Service – a veteran-led and delivered service responding to natural disasters in affected communities, easing pressure on deployments of the ADF, and providing a continuum of service, fellowship, and support for veterans. Labor will provide DRA with $38.1 million over three years. This will allow DRA to add another 5,200 volunteer veterans to its ranks (a total of 6,700 veteran volunteers able to provide over 13,600 volunteer days per annum).