RSL Australia welcomes Government’s proposed reform of veterans’ entitlement legislation

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSLA) has hailed the Federal Government’s intention announced today, to simplify legislation governing Veterans’ compensation, rehabilitation, and other entitlements as long overdue.

The RSL has been calling for many years for the consolidation of the current legislation comprising three Acts into a single piece of legislation to simplify claims for veterans and their families.

RSLA President Greg Melick said the Government’s commitment to now reform the legislation was welcomed.

“The Government’s commitment to consult with the veteran community which is also welcomed, must be extensive, collaborative, and continual,” he said.

“The new Act should introduce a cohesive approach to veterans’ entitlements, with the end goal being a reduction in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) claims backlog to ensure veterans and their families are not left waiting for entitlements designed to support their health and wellbeing.”

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide found the existing three pieces of legislation, dating from 1917, were so complex and adversely impacted on the mental health of veterans and their families. The more than a century old legislation has never been fully reformed, but updated and amended which has only added to its complexity.

Greg Melick said legislative reform was a key interim recommendation of the ongoing Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

“The RSL commends the work of the Royal Commission in recommending this reform. All the previous inquiries have done likewise with insufficient action, and the Federal Government is to be commended for honouring its commitment to now implement this reform.”

Greg Melick reiterated the RSL’s call for the Federal Government to use the forthcoming Budget to provide demand-driven funding for the implementation of all the Royal Commission’s recommendations to materially improve the lives of Australia’s veterans and their families.

“The RSL stands ready to support and inform this important work, both directly to Government and through the Royal Commission process,” he said.