Barnaby Joyce

2020 Budget provides further support for veterans’ mental health, employment

13 Oct 2020

The Coalition Government has allocated $11.7 billion to veteran affairs in the 2020–21 Budget to deliver a range of services and supports for veterans and dependants, including nearly 2,000 in the New England.

Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said 1,960 veterans and their families in the New England would benefit from the latest Budget measures which included more than $100 million to bolster mental health support, as well as assistance to help veterans find a job after service.

“We are providing $94.3 million to increase funding to mental health and community nursing providers while also training psychiatrists in veteran and military mental health,” Mr Joyce said. 

“To ensure veterans have the best possible transition from the Australian Defence Force and find a job after service, we are also investing $23.7 million in programs to provide more support to those veterans who may be interested in starting their own business post-service.

“Many of these measures are in response to the Government’s interim response to the Productivity Commission’s report. Importantly, this interim response rules out any changes to the Gold Card, providing certainty to the ex-service community in the New England.

“The Government will also provide more than $113 million for two $250 economic support payments to veterans and their families to help support and stimulate the Australian economy. The payments are part of the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As a former serving member myself, I understand the importance of providing support to our veteran and ex-service community in the New England who I have no doubt will appreciate these measures and recognise the Government’s commitment to putting veterans and their families first.”

The Budget also provides:

  • $2.4 million to provide care coordination for veterans with accepted mental health conditions. The Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program is a team-based approach to health care which involves GP-led coordination of a veteran’s treatment.
  • $5.0 million to expand the Open Arms and digital mental health support in rural and regional areas.
  • $25.9 million in response to the Independent Review of the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Payment, providing more support to severely impaired veterans that are renting as well as streamlining administration arrangements.

In July, the Australian Government provided $55,385 in additional funding assistance to veteran advocacy services in the New England as part of its Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) grants program.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester said help was at hand for those in need.

“This year has been a difficult one and I want to assure veterans and their families that they are at the forefront of the Government’s thinking and urge anyone who is struggling to reach out. Help is available and you don’t have to go it alone,” Mr Chester said.

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling is available to current and former ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046. This support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More information on all of DVA's 2020–21 Budget measures is available on the DVA website dva.gov.au

(ENDS)