$36 Million To Implement Recommendations Of The Clarke Review Of Veterans' Entitlements

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11th May 2010, 09:42pm - Views: 1017





Government Governments Minister For Veterans' Affairs 1 image







The Hon Alan Griffin MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel


VA022


Tuesday, 11 May 2010 


$36 MILLION TO IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CLARKE

REVIEW OF VETERANS’ ENTITLEMENTS


The government will provide compensation and entitlements for former defence force personnel

who participated in British Nuclear Testing, and recognise others whose service has long gone

unrecognised.


The Rudd Government’s 2010–11 Budget provides funding of $36 million to implement key

recommendations of the Clarke Review of veterans’ entitlements, ignored by the previous

government.


The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin, said the government had considered the Clarke

Review findings and had come up with a fair and balanced response.


“This commitment by the government will address significant issues identified by Justice Clarke

in his review, funded with a new $36 million investment.” 


“This includes our decision to provide benefits to the people involved in British Nuclear Testing,

which will provide comfort and certainty for a group which has for years been seeking

recognition for their service.


“Today the government secures long overdue recognition and closure for military personnel who

participated in nuclear tests at Maralinga, Emu Field and the Monte Bello Islands.


“By accepting Justice Clarke’s recommendation, we are looking after veterans who have been

campaigning for many years.”


As part of the package, $24.2 million over five years will go to providing disability pensions, war

widows/ers pensions and health care benefits to people who suffer from conditions related to

their nuclear test service. Potentially, 2,700 surviving defence force personnel will benefit.


Subject to legislative changes, benefits will be available from July 2010.


In responding to the Clarke Review, there will be a reclassification of the service of certain

submarine special operations personnel between 1978 and 1992 to acknowledge their

contribution, recognising it as qualifying service, opening up eligibility for benefits such as the

Gold Card. 


Up to 890 former submariners will benefit from this change, costing an estimated $11.1 million

over four years. This investment goes beyond Clarke’s recommendation that such service be

treated as non-warlike hazardous.


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In other measures:



A discrepancy will be removed, affecting a small amount of British Commonwealth and

Allied veterans aged between 18 and 21 at the time of enlistment, and therefore too

young to have their domicile of choice as Australia. Benefits will now be given to that

group.



Widow/ers in a de facto relationship will no longer be able to claim the war widow/er

pension. They will be treated in the same way as widows/ers who re-marry. This will only

apply to new claims lodged from 1 October 2010.



Bereavement payments to war widows are now equivalent to or exceed what would have

been payable under the Clarke proposals.



Assistance with tertiary education for veterans’ children is available through the

government’s recent introduction of scholarships to aid eligible children under both the

Veteran’s Children Education Scheme and the Military and Rehabilitation and

Compensation Act 2004 Education and Training Scheme.



The needs of carers have been addressed as part of the government’s broader response

to the Who Cares…? report and the National Disability Strategy.


Several matters that relate to the nature of service undertaken are still under consideration by

government. These are recommendations relating to clearance of ordnance in Papua New

Guinea and the Pacific Islands; service related to improvised explosive device disposal; and

British Commonwealth Occupation Forces in Japan. All these are currently subject to

examination by the Defence Nature of Service review or are subject to discussion within

government.


Although not part of the Clarke Review response, the government has also decided to invest an

additional $2.7 million to reclassify service at RAAF Base Ubon in Thailand between 31 May

1962 and 27 July 1962 from operational service to qualifying service, also improving eligibility

for benefits for those affected. 


Media inquiries: Sasha Nimmo 0437 863 109

General inquiries: 133 254


The VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a

week on 1800 011 046.

To receive the Minister’s media releases automatically by email subscribe at minister.dva.gov.au/subscribe.htm



 







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