Dva's Compensation Administration Not Questioned By Ombudsman

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22nd July 2008, 02:09pm - Views: 462





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MEDIA RELEASE
















Tuesday, 22 July 2008


DVA’S COMPENSATION ADMINISTRATION NOT QUESTIONED BY

OMBUDSMAN


Acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Ed Killesteyn, has today clarified

incorrect reporting arising from the Parliamentary Inquiry into F-111 Deseal/Reseal Workers and

their Families by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.


In 2007, the Commonwealth Ombudsman examined the Department’s administration of the ex

gratia payment scheme for eligible participants of the F-111 Deseal/Reseal program.  Given the

ex gratia scheme was not compensation, the only avenue of review for unsuccessful applicants

is through the Ombudsman.


On reviewing claims, the Ombudsman found deficiencies in the scheme’s record keeping and

administrative functions—criticisms the Department accepted and rectified.  The Ombudsman

was satisfied with the Department’s response and took no further action.


Administration of the Deseal/Reseal ex gratia scheme should be considered against a

background of sometimes imperfect information and recollection of events that occurred more

than 30 years ago.  This was balanced by an assessment team, including highly experienced

Air Force officers, who went to great lengths to secure evidence to support applications within

the specific policy criteria laid down by the former government.  


The Ombudsman did not question the Department’s decisions made on individual claims for ex

gratia payment, indeed, the Ombudsman’s view was that the “agency had not acted

unreasonably” in its decision making.


The Ombudsman did not examine the Department’s processing of more than 26,000

compensation claims it receives each year.  In yesterday’s hearing, the Acting Ombudsman

confirmed that the criticism did not apply to the Department’s processing of compensation

claims.


“I want to make it absolutely clear that the Ombudsman’s comments relate specifically to the ex-

gratia scheme and not the overall administration of compensation claims by DVA,” Mr Killesteyn

said.


“The Department and its staff are committed to ensuring all clients receive their rightful

entitlements and their dedication to supporting veterans and ex serving personnel is

unquestionable.”


MEDIA INQUIRIES:

Kym Connolly 02 6289 6203






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