committee recommends, that in the context of recent Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare findings concerning veterans at risk of suicide, the
- develop and implement
specific suicide prevention programs targeted at those veterans identified in
at-risk groups; and
- expand the DVA
Reconnects Project to proactively contact veterans in these identified in
committee recommends that the Australian Government commission an independent
study into the mental health impacts of compensation claim assessment processes
on veterans engaging with the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the
Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation. The results of this research should be
utilised to improve compensation claim processes.
committee recommends that the Australian Government establish a National
Veteran Suicide Register to be maintained by the Australian Institute of Health
committee recommends that the Australian Government review the enhancement of
veteran-specific online training programs intended for mental health
professionals. In particular:
- requirements for
providers to undertake training;
- the introduction of
incentives for undertaking online training and demonstrating outcomes in
committee recommends that Defence and the Department of Veterans' Affairs align
arrangements for the provision of professional mental health care.
committee recommends that the Australian Government make a reference to the
Productivity Commission to simplify the legislative framework of compensation
and rehabilitation for service members and veterans. In particular, this review
should examine the utilisation of Statements of Principle in the determination
of compensation claims. The report of this systemic review should be completed
within 18 months and tabled in the Parliament.
committee recommends that the Australian Government continue to support the
'Veteran Centric Reform' program within the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
committee recommends that, while the Veteran Centric Reform program is being
implemented, the Australian Government continue to fund measures to:
- alleviate pressure on
claims processing staff and to reduce the backlog of claims; and
- increase case
coordination staff to assist clients with complex needs.
committee recommends that the Department of Veterans' Affairs conduct a review
of its training program to ensure relevant staff:
- have an understanding
of the realities of military service;
- have an understanding
of health issues of veterans;
- have appropriate
communication skills to engage with clients with mental health conditions; and
- have sufficient
training to interpret medical assessment and reports.
committee recommends that the Department of Veterans' Affairs review its use of
medico-legal firms in relation to the assessment of the conditions of veterans.
In particular, this review should confirm:
undertaken are appropriate to the conditions considered;
- that the medical
professionals used have undertaken training on treating veterans and can
demonstrate their expertise working amongst this client group; and
- the need for
independent medical assessments where information is already available from the
veteran's own doctor or treating specialist.
committee recommends the Department of Veterans' Affairs expand its online
engagement with younger veterans through social media to raise awareness
regarding available support services.
committee recommends that the reference to the Productivity Commission should
also include examination of the following areas in the Veterans' Affairs
- service delivery.
committee recommends that the Australian National Audit Office commence the
proposed performance audit of the 'Efficiency of veterans' service delivery by
the Department of Veterans' Affairs' as soon as possible.
committee recommends that Transition Taskforce examine and address:
- any gaps in medical
services or income support for veterans in transition or immediately following
- barriers to
employment for veterans who are transitioning such as workers' insurance issues
and civilian recognition of qualifications, skills and training; and
- disincentives for
veterans to undertake work or study resulting from the legislative or policy
frameworks of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
committee recommends that the Department of Veterans' Affairs develop a
two-track transition program for serving members leaving the ADF. Those
identified as being in 'at risk' groups or requiring additional assistance due
to their circumstances should be able to access intensive transition services.
These intensive transition services should include additional support:
- claims case
- healthcare, mental
health and wellbeing support;
- employment assistance
- social connectedness programs;
- health and wellbeing
committee recommends the Australian Government issue all ADF members
transitioning into civilian life with a DVA White Card.
committee recommends that the Career Transition Assistance Scheme include an
option for veterans to undertake a period of work experience with an outside
committee recommends that the Australian Public Service Commission conduct a
review into mechanisms to further support veteran employment in the Australian
Public Service and the public sector.
committee recommends that the Department of Veterans' Affairs review the
support for partners of veterans to identify further avenues for assistance.
This review should include services such as information and advice,
counselling, peer support and options for family respite care to support
partners of veterans.
- the Australian Government
expand the Veterans and Community Grants program to support the provision of
alternative therapies to veterans with mental health conditions; and
- the Department of
Veterans' Affairs consult with ex-service organisations and the veteran
community regarding avenues to reform the Veterans and Community Grants program
to support the provision of alternative therapies to veterans.
committee recommends the Australian Government fund a trial program that would
provide assistance animals for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD) stemming from their military service in order to gather research to
support the eventual funding of animals for veterans with PTSD and/or other
mental health conditions through the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
committee recommends that the Australian Government provide funding to support
the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service:
- create and maintain a
public database of services available to veterans; and
- provide an
information service to assist veterans and families connect and access
appropriate services provided by ex-service organisations and others.
committee recommends that the Australian Government establish a Bureau of
Veterans' Advocates to represent veterans, commission legal representation
where required, train advocates for veterans and be responsible for advocate
committee recommends that the Australian Government establish an independent
review of the representation of veterans before the Veterans' Review Board.
This review should assess whether the rights of vulnerable veterans are being
adequately protected and whether further support mechanisms for veterans appearing
before the Veterans' Review Board are required.
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