A Shorten Labor Government will appropriately celebrate the role of all Australian veterans, investing $118 million to honour their service and support their families.
Labor’s plan will address inequity in the treatment of our veterans in payment for funeral expenses; provide greater support for veteran carers; expand therapy support for veterans; and boost research into veterans’ mental health.
To recognise further the sacrifices of our veterans, Labor will establish a grants program to ensure memorials in Australia are upgraded to mark the service of all Australians who have fought in war and develop a Joint Master Plan to preserve the significance of the Kokoda Trail.
Importantly, a Shorten Labor Government will preserve the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as a single department dedicated to support the unique needs of our veterans – we call on Scott Morrison to commit to do the same.
Labor will build on the extensive commitments already made to support our veterans, including our announced Veterans Employment Package, through:
- Removing the inequity in the treatment of our veterans when paying funeral expenses, due to different legislative provisions. This will assist more than 84,000 veterans and their families by increasing the amount they receive for funeral expenses.
- Providing funding for carer retreats to assist those who struggle with social isolation and provide greater emotional support to those who are looking after our veterans.
- Expanding veterans’ access to mental health treatment through the development of an art therapy program.
- Boosting research into veterans’ mental health, to provide greater understanding of the mental, physical and social health of current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force.
- Establishing Their Enduring Legacy grants program to ensure memorials throughout Australia are upgraded to reflect all Australians who have fought in wars.
- Developing a Kokoda Trail Joint Master Plan to recognise the environmental, cultural and wartime significance of the Kokoda Trail.
- Preserving the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as a single dedicated department for our veterans. Abolition of the department was a recommendation of the draft Productivity Report commissioned by the Liberals.
These program initiatives represent an investment of $118 million, which we will pay for by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.