Mr Speaker
One of the great privileges of being the Minister for
Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel is having the
opportunity to meet, and get to know, so many of the
men and women who serve and have served this nation
and their incredible, supportive families.
I have seen first-hand the critical and fundamental role
that families play in supporting the capability of our
defence force and the wellbeing of defence members.
If we want a strong defence force − operating at its best
− then we need to have the best possible support
available for family members.
The responsibility to care for the men and women of the
ADF, veterans and their families currently rests with our
generation, and we have to do everything we can to give
them the care and treatment they deserve.
The Australian Government recognises the unique
challenges faced by these families.
Supporting the partners and children of our service
personnel must be an ongoing and evolving effort.
This legislation that I am introducing today will expand
the existing Family Support Package first introduced by
the Australian Government in 2018.
This Bill demonstrates the Government’s ongoing
commitment to its response to Recommendation 19 of
the Final Report of the Senate Inquiry into Suicide by
Veterans and Ex-Service Personnel, The Constant
Battle: Suicide by Veterans tabled in Parliament on 15
August 2017.
It also responds to recommendation 19.2 of the
Productivity Commission Report A Better Way to
Support Veterans to ensure veterans and their families
are supported to the best of our ability.
Important new support to veterans in this Bill goes
beyond a 2021-22 Budget measure and commences on
1 July 2022.
This initiative builds on and enhances the existing
Family Support Package by expanding the services
available and allowing families greater choice in how
they use services provided through the program.
The Enhanced Family Support Package will also be
available to more working age veteran families through
expanded eligibility.
Intensive support will become available to families – at,
or in crisis − to adjust to new or challenging life
circumstances, complementing other Department of
Veterans’ Affairs and Australian Government services.
This initiative will provide families of veterans under 65
years that are in − or at risk of, being in − crisis with
up to $12,500 over two years.
This support can be spent on a range of services that
meet their health and wellbeing needs.
This includes household services such as cleaning,
gardening, counselling for family members and a range
of other practical support.
Families will be able to access up to $7,500 of support in
the first year, and up to $5,000 in the second year.
In addition, families with children will be able to access
a further $10,000 a year for each child under school age
and $5,000 a year for each primary school aged child,
until the child reaches high school age.
We know that widows and widowers are particularly
vulnerable following the death of their veteran partners.
Under this initiative, the Family Support package for
widows and widowers will be expanded to all three Acts
that support veterans.
This package provides widowed partners under 65 years
old up to $27,835 each year for two years.
This equates to $514.12 per week.
This support will help meet the cost of help around the
home such as cleaning, gardening, maintenance and
other practical services to support the family’s wellbeing.
Widows and widowers will also have access to the
additional child care assistance until their child reaches
high school age.
To implement the Australian Government’s Enhanced
Family Support Package, Schedule 1 of the Bill will
amend the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act
2004 to expand the Family Support Package.
It will also introduce a legislative framework to establish
the Family Support Package in the Veterans’
Entitlements Act 1986 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and
Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988.
This government is committed to supporting veterans
and their families.
We want our servicemen and women, veterans and their
families to know that Australia is proud of them and that
our country will always be there for them.
I commend the Bill to the House

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  • Ken O’Keefe March 2, 2022  

    So, nothing if you’re over age 65 …….

  • Ivan Kotsopoulos March 3, 2022  

    So nothing if your over 65 . I would love to understand the reason for that . So my supportive wife who is over 65 just has to soldier on her own .

  • TERRY FORSTER March 3, 2022  

    Will Gold Card Veterans partners ever get Gold Card recognition for the support and help of their disabled partners?

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