Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan addressed the Western Australian veteran community at the annual RSL State Congress.
Mr Tehan said that this year the Government is addressing two key issues affecting the veteran community: access to mental health treatment and support for families of veterans.
“One of the most important measures in this year’s $350 million Budget investment towards supporting veterans and their families is the expansion of non-liability health care to cover all mental health conditions,” said Mr Tehan.
“This means the Government will now pay for the treatment of all mental health conditions affecting anyone who has served one day in the full-time ADF. This program is fully funded and uncapped and builds on reforms started twelve months ago.
“This represents the most significant change in veterans’ policy in decades. From now on, no one will have to prove their mental health condition was caused by their service. Treatment is also available for as long as it is needed.
Mr Tehan said an additional $8.5 million had also been provided to expand eligibility for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).
“Partners and children of our contemporary veterans who have had at least one day of full-time service now have access to the services and support provided by VVCS, including counselling and group programs,” Mr Tehan said.
“Former partners of eligible ADF personnel are also able to access VVCS for up to five years after a couple separates or while co-parenting a child under the age of 18.
“Today I am calling on the Western Australian RSL, and the broader veteran community, to share this information with all current and former members of the ADF and their family members. Importantly, if you think you need help or someone you know needs help, please ask for it – just contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.”
If anyone needs immediate help, they can phone VVCS at any time on 1800 011 046.
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.