Community members talk with Oxley MP Milton Dick.
Community members talk with Oxley MP Milton Dick. Contributed

'Abolishing' Dept Veterans Affairs concerns thousands: MP

THOUSANDS of defence veterans across the region believe they will be worse off if the Department of Veterans Affairs is abolished.

Tomorrow is the final day for people to have their say on the Productivity Commission's draft report.

The report recommends the duties and responsibilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs will be split up and the Department will cease to exist.

The Productivity Commission released its draft report on December 14, with veterans groups raising concerns over a number of items.

Member for Oxley Milton Dick said RSL groups were largely concerned about the changes to the department.

"After speaking first hand with veterans, the strong feedback I'm getting is that this is a short-sighted plan which will only create more problems" he said.

"A significant change like this will have a huge impact on not only the 2500 veterans in Oxley and 3500 in Blair, but for all veterans and defence personnel across the country.

"We know DVA is not perfect, it needs reform, but it is critical to ensuring our veterans receive the care and support they deserve."

One of the key areas of concerns by veterans of the draft report by the Productivity Commission was the recommendation of a single Ministry for Defence Personnel and Veterans to be established.

"This could result in a serious conflict of interest created by moving policy into the Department of Defence, essentially making them a self-insurer, with no independent policy decisions" Mr Dick said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs was established as a part of Australia's commitment to its WW1 veterans.

"It's of vital importance that we work side by side with our veterans to improve the DVA rather than simply dismantling it," Mr Dick said.

Visit www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/veterans/draft to lodge a submission.



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