Greater Recognition Given To Our Veterans

Australian Veterans’ Recognition Bill 2019

Australian veterans have been supported yesterday by the passing of the Australian Veterans’ Recognition Bill 2019 which will deliver fresh
initiatives and an investment of $11.1 million.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan welcomed the Bill and the Coalition Government’s commitment to create an Australian Defence
Veteran Covenant to enshrine in legislation the importance of veterans and to transform the culture of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).

“As a country we can always do more to back our veterans, as they have sacrificed to defend our country in times of war or to become a member of the Australian Defence Force and its reserves,” he said.

“I am pleased this new suite of initiatives was passed in Parliament on the eve of Veterans’ Health week and before the leaders of RSL
sub-branches in my area attend the RSL Annual State Congress in Albury on the weekend.

“The new initiatives are centered on delivering a covenant to recognise our veterans and the legislation includes a statement requiring the DVA to adopt a beneficial approach when interpreting legislation and apply a fair, just and consistent approach to veterans’ claims.

“The covenant will be supported by the introduction of an oath, a new Australian Veteran’s Card and a veteran’s lapel pin.

“The Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and this legislation is part of our ongoing efforts to improve the culture of DVA.” The covenant recognition package includes an oath and a lapel pin to be provided to veterans and eligible reservists. The package also includes the veteran card — a redesign of the existing DVA health cards, which is open to new applicants and will be provided to existing card holders over the coming months. Importantly this process does not change entitlements current card holders have. Arrangements are still being
finalised for businesses across Australia to recognise the unique nature of military service by providing benefits through the veteran card. Interested businesses can find out more by contacting DVA. Port Macquarie RSL sub-branch president Greg Laird welcomed the new legislation, saying it will help a sway of veterans who haven’t seen active combat and therefore have received little recognition to date. “There is a whole bunch of
servicemen who served between the Vietnam War and Iraq who trained for many years with the army or navy, but did not see active combat and they have got nothing,” Mr Laird said.

“I welcome anything the Government can do to give servicemen recognition. The public are pretty good – if someone shows a DVA card when they book into a motel for example, generally the proprietor offers them a 10 per cent discount, which is great. People do want to support our veterans, so this new lapel pin and card will help that.”

Mr Conaghan said there are several great events happening in Cowper for Veterans’ Health week, including one at Kempsey RSL Club today from 8am; a barbecue at Dangar Falls Reserve in Dorrigo on Thursday from 11am-2pm; and an event at the Coffs Harbour Jetty on Sunday. For more
information or to find an event near you, visit the Veterans’ Health Week page at  Veterans can apply for the covenant, lapel
pin and oath online using MyService. Upon Royal Assent in coming weeks, the Australian Veterans’ Recognition Bill 2019 will become a separate
Act. The Act does not change current entitlements for veterans.