Programs supporting younger at-risk veterans and veterans transitioning to civilian employment are set to expand to hundreds more people as part of a significant funding boost from the Morrison Government.
An extra 170 young and vulnerable veterans leaving the Australian Defence Force annually will get guidance and a single point of contact with 10 additional case coordinators backed by a $4.8 million investment in the Coordinated Client Support program that already helps around 1,200 veterans facing difficult circumstances. The investment means the entire high-risk cohort of veterans leaving the ADF will now be covered under the Coordinated Client Support program.
The Government will also boost the resources of the Personalised Career Employment Program by $5.6 million and will expand its eligibility to another 1,600 ADF members each year looking for career development and job placement support as they set up for civilian life.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was backing younger veterans facing tough challenges as they transitioned out of the ADF.
“We’ll show the same commitment and duty to those veterans who have served us that they have shown our country,” the Prime Minister said.
“Research shows veterans under 30 who are involuntarily discharged as being at higher risk of suicide than the general population so we want to ensure they get the support they need as they navigate the range of government services on offer.
“These programs are about reaching out to those veterans who need our help to ensure they get it.”
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said under the Coordinated Client Support program, DVA works closely with Defence to identify veterans at risk before they transition out of service and provide them with a single point of contact.
“We are committed to putting veterans and their families first and by providing those most at risk with a single client coordinator it ensures a seamless continuation of support as they leave the ADF, assists them to access appropriate health treatment as well as the finalisation of their DVA claims,” Mr Chester said.
“Currently the PCEP supports those aged between 17 and 24 who have served less than four years by providing them with greater opportunity for job placement within the civilian community. The investment announced today will extend this to those up to 30 years of age, meaning a further 30 per cent of transitioning members can now access the program in Townsville alone.”
Minister Chester said the Government was also delivering on a 2019 election commitment with a $15 million investment to roll-out employment-related programs for veterans through a one-off grants package for Soldier On, Team Rubicon Australia and the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL National).
“To further support veterans seeking employment, Soldier On, Team Rubicon Australia and RSL will assist those who find the transition to the civilian workforce challenging through tailored employment-related programs,” Mr Chester said.
“You only need to look at the mobilisation of Team Rubicon Australia to assist in the recent response to the bushfires to know the results will be promising. I look forward to seeing the ongoing results of this important program.”
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson welcomed the further announcements, particularly the potential benefits to members of Townsville’s veteran community.
“Townsville has a strong military and veteran community, with around 750 transitions from the ADF here every year, and having served in the ADF, transitioned into civilian life and having watched my mate’s transition I know how important it is to get it right,” Mr Thompson said.
“DVA and Defence have been working hard to improve the transition process and the additional support outlined today will go a long way to supporting those most in need.
“As a government we have done a lot, which I know is appreciated by the ex-service community, but we know there is still more to do.”
The Government has made promoting the valuable skills of ADF personnel and veterans a high priority, including through the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program and Veterans’ Employment Awards.
The Government invests a record $11 billion to support 280,000 veterans and their families each year, is reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs with more work underway, has cut waiting times for claims and has also launched the Australian Veterans’ Card and Lapel Pin, so veterans can be appropriately recognised, including by businesses who want to offer special discounts and offers to veterans.