Eight proposed Veteran Wellbeing Centres, predominantly in regional Australia, have been axed in this week’s Federal Budget with the Labor Party deeming the centres “rorts and waste”.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Barnaby Joyce, has demanded an urgent explanation from Prime Minister Albanese as to how veteran support services were deemed wasteful in Labor’s first budget, while radical protest movements such as the Climate Warriors Training Program and the Environmental Defenders Office, were being provided with millions of dollars in ongoing funding.
The eight Veteran Wellbeing Centres axed in Labor’s budget include:
- Mid-north coast region - NSW
- Wagga Wagga region - NSW
- Mackay region - QLD
- Wide-Bay Burnett region - QLD
- Sunshine Coast region - QLD
- Greater Melbourne - VIC
- Mornington Peninsula – VIC
- Greater Sydney - NSW
Mr Joyce warned that veterans were not getting a fair deal out the Federal Budget following the decision of the Prime Minister to dump the position of Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, from the Cabinet.
“That means veterans are not getting a voice at the very table where funding decisions are being made,” Mr Joyce said.
“When Labor said it was going to axe programs that they considered to be rorts and waste, no one thought that was going to be the important support services for our veterans,” he said.
Mr Joyce said the only reason Australians enjoyed the quality of life they do with the freedoms they have, was because of those who had served and their families.
“In precarious times when we need to encourage people to join our defence forces, it’s imperative that we show the nation we don’t only encourage them to go into the services, but that we look after them as they come out. We must ensure they are supported,” Mr Joyce said.
He said Labor was yet to provide an explanation for why the eight centres had been axed from the Federal Budget.