The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP
Member for New England
Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
- January 2024
VETERANS COMPENSATION REFORM: MINISTER FAILS TO MEET ROYAL COMMISSION’S DEADLINE
A major overhaul of veterans’ entitlements has hit a roadblock with the Labor Government failing to meet the end-of-year deadline to release draft new laws to harmonise and consolidate compensation claims.
The very first recommendation of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide had specifically directed the government that “by no later than 22 December 2023, the Australian Government should complete drafting of the legislation”.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, said there were over 347,000 veterans and dependents who had been promised priority action by the government to deliver on the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
“The 22 December came and went, then the end of the year came and went; and there is still no sign of the draft new laws. The year ended badly and started no better for those who want outcomes from the current government”, Mr Joyce said.
He said veterans’ compensation entitlements were currently contained across three separate Acts often with different levels of assistance and eligibility.
“The former Coalition Government established the Royal Commission as we understood there was an urgent need to build confidence, trust and hope for current and future veterans and their families that they would be properly supported”, Mr Joyce said.
He said the Labor Government’s inaction on their own commitment on veterans’ reform was a direct result of veterans losing their voice at the Cabinet table where critical policy and funding decisions are made.
“The very first action of Mr Albanese when he became Prime Minister was to dump the Minister for Veterans Affairs from Cabinet. The position does not sit at the Cabinet table which means the Minister has to sit outside the door hoping someone in Cabinet will listen to him when trying to advocate for veterans”, Mr Joyce said.
“We have no reason as to why the draft legislation has not been released and it has been close to a fortnight since it should have been, so I suppose we just have to put it down to incompetence “Mr Joyce said.
Media Contact: Heidi Williamson 0436 807 792