The Greens believe that if we are prepared to send men and women to serve Australia on our behalf, we have a responsibility to care for them properly when they return.
This means ensuring they have access to proper support, including mental health and wellbeing services, and making sure service personnel who are injured are not financially disadvantaged while they are being treated.
We must be responsive to the changing needs of the veteran community, including their families, and invest in robust solutions to meet the challenges they face, regardless of the nature of their service.
Through consultation with veterans and veterans’ organisations, the Australian Greens have developed a strong and caring plan to support our veterans and offer them the respect and recognition they deserve.
As part of our $55.2 million Caring for Veterans package, we will:
• Dedicate $6 million to develop effective mental health and wellbeing support programs for veterans, namely Mates4Mates and Men’s Sheds.
• Fund research into the specific needs of female veterans.
• Recognise the service of British and Commonwealth Occupation Forces, SEATO nurses and the Australian Women’s Land Army, giving them access to the services and benefits they deserve.
• Ensure injured service personnel are not financially disadvantaged while they are being treated.
These smart, targeted initiatives will make sure veterans and injured service personnel receive appropriate care when they return to Australia, whether from conflict zones or other service on our behalf.
Caring for veterans' families
The Greens recognise that veterans’ families face unique challenges as a result of their loved one’s service but don’t always receive the care and support they deserve.
We know carers play a crucial and often unrecognised role in the welfare and support of veterans. Dealing with issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be hugely challenging.
Partners and families of veterans are also susceptible to challenges to their own health and mental health as a result of their loved one’s service. The Greens believe we must take steps to provide better support for those close to a veteran.
Our plan has been costed at $60 million to support veterans’ families, and includes provisions to assist the families of current defence force personnel as well.
As part of this policy we will:
• Allow children of veterans acting as a carer, and parents and siblings of veterans killed in service, to access counselling through the Veterans and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service (VVCS).
• Increase funeral benefits under the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 1986 from $2,000 to $4,000, subject to review every five years.
• Change the current situation regarding Carer Allowance so it is no longer cancelled after the veteran has been hospitalised for six weeks.
• Increase Veterans’ Home Care respite services to 260 hours per year; and
• Provide funding to the Defence Community Organisation to administer an induction program for defence families.
The Australian Greens are committed to improving the care for defence force personnel, veterans and their families across their lifespan, ensuring better mental health and life outcomes for those who have served our country - and those who support them.
Read the full details of our plan to care for veterans’ families here.