Home' Vetaffairs : Vetaffairs Summer 2016 Contents 3 — Vetaffairs Summer 2016
The Hon. Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
NEWS FROM THE MINISTER
From left: Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, at the launch of the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program; Minister
Tehan, Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
When Ben Roberts-Smith received the
Victoria Cross in 2011, the citation read:
‘His valour was an inspiration to the
soldiers with whom he fought along-
side and is in keeping with the finest
traditions of the Australian Army and
the Australian Defence Force’.
Today, Roberts-Smith is the General
Manager at Channel 7 in Queensland.
He was also the MC at the launch of
the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employ-
ment Program in November.
At the launch he told an instructive
story about the skills and talents our
former Australian Defence Force (ADF)
personnel can bring to any workplace.
When Roberts-Smith was first
offered a position at Channel 7 he was
a little confused; why would a major
TV network want to hire someone
who had never worked in television?
‘You can teach anyone television,’
Roberts-Smith was told, ‘but you can’t
What the people at Channel 7 had
seen in Ben Roberts-Smith were the
qualities the ADF instil in its people
through their service and sacrifice:
honesty, honour, initiative, integrity,
respect and loyalty.
The Prime Minister’s Veterans’
Employment Program aims to high-
light those qualities to the private
sector and public service to assist
our ADF personnel find meaningful
employment befitting their skills after
they leave the Defence Force.
The Prime Minister’s Veterans’
Employment Program is not about
charity or philanthropy; it is about
business and government realising
the full potential of the men and
women who have defended our
The key aim is to raise awareness in
the private sector about the unique
skills and experience our former ADF
personnel can bring to business.
We want to encourage businesses
large and small to take a closer look at
our veterans and realise their skills can
help a business grow and succeed.
Every year, around 5,500 personnel
leave the ADF, with the majority doing
so to pursue an alternative career.
During their service, many
acquire formal trade or professional
qualifications that are recognised in
the civilian workforce, for instance
as mechanics, health professionals,
carpenters, drivers and pilots.
They also gain unique skills such
as problem-solving, leadership,
teamwork and the ability to work in
high-pressure environments – skills
that can be utilised in any business.
As part of the Prime Minister’s Vet-
erans’ Employment Program, the
Government will establish an Indus-
try Advisory Committee on Veterans’
Employment to be led by the private
sector, which will develop strategies
for business to recognise and transfer
the talents of our veterans from the
military into post-service careers.
Participating businesses will be
given the title of ‘Veteran Employment
Ambassador’ and we will celebrate the
success of our small, medium and
large businesses who are employing
veterans at an annual Prime Minister’s
Veterans’ Employment Awards.
Businesses will be encouraged to
work with their local ex-service organi-
sations to develop opportunities best
suited for their circumstances. Ex-ser -
vice organisations can register their
interest in partnering with industry on
projects to promote the employment
of veterans through an Ex-Service
Organisation Industry Partnership
Register, to be established by the Gov-
ernment as part of the Employment
The Government will do its part by
ensuring our ADF personnel are best
prepared for their transition from the
military to civilian life. We will ensure
all ADF personnel have all their neces-
sary documentation, such as training
records, superannuation and health
certificates, in place before they leave
the ADF. This will mean our personnel
leave the military with the paperwork
they need to kick-start their post-ser-
The Government will also provide
tailored transition coaching services
for all leaving personnel to help them
seek and obtain work. We will work
with civilian authorities to align mili-
tary and civilian qualifications.
about employment opportunities
posted on the Government’s jobactive
website and the Australian Public
Service (APS) website. The APS will
develop a tool that aligns ADF ranks
to APS classifications so veterans
can better understand how their
skills and experience transfer to the
The jobactive website will launch
a new feature where employers can
nominate positions that would suit
former ADF personnel as ‘defence
force experience desirable’, allow-
ing job-seekers to more easily find
vacancies for someone with an ADF
In November, I hosted the first-
ever meeting of state and territory
ministers with responsibility for
veterans where we focused on transi-
tion, homelessness, incarceration and
mental health and agreed to improve
co-ordination on veterans’ issues and
work more co-operatively on data
The ministers agreed that each state
and territory would work with the
Commonwealth to develop standard-
ised military service history indicators
to use in national and jurisdictional
data collections for suicide and home-
lessness. This will improve the quality
of data collected and lead to better ser-
The Government will investigate
a mechanism to advise states and
territories when ADF personnel are
medically discharged to help bet-
ter plan the provision of support
services. We will also ensure that all
medically-discharged veterans have
a Medicare card when they separate
from the ADF.
New South Wales, Victoria, Western
Australia and South Australia are col-
lecting data on veteran incarceration
and the other states and territories
have agreed to explore collecting this
data. New South Wales and Victoria
also have specific programs to address
veteran homelessness, and informa-
tion on these programs will be shared
with all other states and territories.
State and territory governments will
provide information on their services
as part of every ADF transition session
for personnel leaving the military.
We will also pursue the inclusion
of a military service related question
in the next Census to greatly improve
our understanding of the veteran
Our veterans have been a key focus
for the Turnbull Government in 2016,
and in 2017 it will be more of the same.
Finally, I would like to wish you all a
very merry Christmas and all the best
in the New Year.
Pensions and allowances rise
Veterans’ pensions were increased from 20 Septem-
ber 2016 following the latest round of indexation
As pension rates are calculated on a daily basis,
the pension paid on payday 29 September 2016 was
paid partly at the old rate and partly at the new rate.
The first full payment at the new rates was payday
13 October 2016.
The maximum rate of single service pension has risen
by $3.20 to $877.10 per fortnight and the maximum rate
for couples has increased by $2.50 to $661.20 per fort-
night (each). These rates include pension and energy
The Special Rate of Disability Pension (T&PI pension)
has increased by $5.40 to $1,346.90 per fortnight. Extreme
Disablement Adjustment has increased by $3.00 to
$744.00 per fortnight and the 100 per cent General Rate of
disability pension has increased by $1.90 to $478.80 per
fortnight. These rates include the energy supplement.
The pension paid to war widow(er)s has increased by
$3.40 to $891.30 per fortnight (including the energy sup-
plement), while the ceiling rate of the income support
supplement, which is paid to some 52,000 war widow(er)s,
has risen to $263.10 per fortnight.
Payments have also increased for benefits under the
Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA).
The weekly MRCA wholly dependent partner payment
has increased by $1.70 to $445.65 paid fortnightly. This
rate includes the energy supplement.
The indexation factor used to index pensions each
March and September can be based on either the
Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Pensioner and Ben-
eficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI) or Male Total Average
Weekly Earnings (MTAWE). On this occasion, the PBLCI
produced the highest indexation increase of 0.4 per
cent and this was used in indexing pensions from
20 September 2016.
More information on the new pension rates is available
from DVA on 133 254 or from regional Australia free call
1800 555 254, or visit www.dva.gov.au.
A new Bill, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensa-
tion Legislation Amendment (Defence Force) Bill 2016,
has been introduced into Parliament. If passed, this Bill
will replicate the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act
1988 (SRCA) to create a standalone Act for current and for-
mer ADF members.
This Act will be called the Safety, Rehabilitation and
Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act (DRCA).
Importantly, eligibility and benefits under the DRCA
will be the same as those currently available to Austral-
ian Defence Force (ADF) members and veterans under
the existing SRCA.
The new Act will not apply to, or have any impact on,
veterans with eligibility under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act
1986 or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.
The Bill reflects the Government’s commitment to rec-
ognise the unique nature of military service and, if passed,
would give the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs responsibilty
for all compensation Acts for ADF members and veterans.
Currently, the Minister for Employment has responsibility
for the SRCA as it covers all Commonwealth employees,
including ADF members with service prior to 1 July 2004.
The prospect of a standalone Act was announced by Gov-
ernment nearly two years ago. Since then, the Department
of Veterans’ Affairs has consulted with the Department of
Defence and ex-service community representatives, both
of which have been supportive of this important change.
This is a significant step in the broader reform being
undertaken by DVA to improve services for veterans and
their families. To enable future veteran-centric reform
to occur, it is appropriate that policy responsibility for
all of the relevant legislation sits with the Minister for
New Act for Defence
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