Three key ex-service organisations have called for non-liability health care (NLHC) for all Defence Reservists.
The Defence Reserves Association (DRA), the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), and the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) have written a joint letter to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Matt Keogh, seeking his support for the extension of health care to all those serving in the reserve forces.
The organisations are calling for bi-partisan support and have also written to the Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, the Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel, and the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Non-liability health care enables eligible veterans to access treatment at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ expense for specified conditions, without needing to establish a link to service.
It is separate from any claim for compensation. It enables prompt access to mental health treatment and encourages early intervention to stabilise and treat conditions as they arise, offering the best chance for recovery.
Under existing arrangements current and former full-time members of the ADF including Reservists who have at least one day of continuous full-time service (CFT) have access to free mental health treatment.
Presently many Reservists with periods of service in the ADF, sometimes more than 40 years, but have not been required or given an opportunity to undertake a period of continuous full-time service. Consequently, they are excluded from applying for non-liability health care.
Extending non-liability health care to all Reservists would remove administrative and financial barriers to accessing mental health care for past and present Defence Force members and will allow them to seek treatment as quickly as possible.”
Access to DVA funded mental health care under the provision of NLHC would be a significant measure toward ensuring the mental health and well-being of all Defence Reservists.
Extending the health care arrangements is a simple legislative amendment that would demonstrate the Government’s commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of all current and former Defence personnel.
Such recognition will also emphasise the vital role of Defence Reservists in the 21st century.
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