Morrison Pledges $63 Million to Help Veterans After Service

April 24, 2019 Updated: April 24, 2019

On the eve of Anzac Day, the coalition is promising a $63 million (US$44.4 million) package to look after those who have served in Australia’s defence forces.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the pledge in Darwin, home to more than 5000 defence personnel and their families, where he campaigned on April 24 for the first time this election.

Morrison said a re-elected coalition government would spend $30 million (US$ 21.1 million) building veterans’ wellbeing centres in Darwin, Townsville, Adelaide, Perth, Nowra, and Wodonga.

“We must honour our veterans around our memorials tomorrow, but we must honour the veterans who are living each and every day,” he told reporters.

The centres would be service hubs integrating government assistance, health services, advocacy and wellbeing support tailored to those who have served.

Another $16.2 million (US$11.4 million) would go to Soldier On, Team Rubicon and RSL state branches for programs to help former servicemen and women find meaningful civilian jobs in their post-military life.

Labor has promised all Australian veterans the same funeral benefits, regardless of the conflict in which they served as part of a $118 million (US$83.1 million) package.

The funeral expense offering would cost $90.4 million (US$63.6 million), while the opposition has also committed $20 million (US$14.1 million) towards local war memorials as well as money for art therapy and retreats for veterans.

The government is now promising $10 million (US$7 million) for local war memorials and another $10 million (US$7 million) for commemoration projects in Papua New Guinea.

Morrison confirmed the Department of Veterans’ Affairs would be kept intact under both major parties, despite the Productivity Commission recommending it be split.

Under the government’s plan, veterans who are totally and permanently incapacitated from a new limit of 12 sessions with allied health providers such as physiotherapists, in a move expected to cost $17 million (US$12 million)

This restriction was due to start on July 1 and allied health workers told a Productivity Commission inquiry the measure was an “archaic” model of care that would have led to people missing out on much-needed treatment.

The coalition will also make it easier for veterans after their service to access schemes that help them to find a home and obtain building insurance.

By AAP’s Katina Curtis