Veterans’ Legislation Reform Consultation Pathway

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Welcome to the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) consultation page in relation to the Government’s proposed Veterans’ Legislation Reform Consultation Pathway.

This consultation continues the Government’s engagement with the veteran community about simplifying and harmonising veterans’ legislation.

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Background

Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

In August 2022 the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide released its Interim Report making 13 recommendations.

The Report confirmed that veterans’ legislation is complex and difficult. Recommendation 1 states that:

The Australian Government should develop and implement legislation to simplify and harmonise the framework for veterans’ compensation, rehabilitation and other entitlements.

Recommendation 1 also lays out a timeline for implementation of this recommendation.

The Government agreed to Recommendation 1 and stated that:

The Government will develop a pathway for simplification and harmonisation of veteran compensation and rehabilitation legislation on the basis of this recommendation, noting that funding will be considered in the context of budget processes and fiscal constraints. The timing of implementation will be informed by what is required for necessary consultation and the passage of legislation.

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Basis of Pathway for Consultation

On 16 February 2023, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs announced the commencement of consultation on the legislation pathway that has been developed by Government.

In developing the proposed Pathway, the Government has considered the recommendations made by the Productivity Commission referred to in Recommendation 1 of the Royal Commission’s Interim Report, and subsequent feedback.

The recommendations by the Productivity Commission included a proposal to move to two ongoing schemes, but this could create a range of new complexities in the veterans’ entitlements system.

The proposal is to move to a single ongoing veterans’ entitlement scheme. However, it is subject to the outcomes of these consultations and their consideration in the context of budgetary constraints.

Further information about why change is needed and the proposal can be downloaded:

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Core elements of the proposed framework

  • Establishing an improved version of MRCA as the sole ongoing scheme (View the MRCA on the Federal Register of Legislation website).
  • Closing out VEA and DRCA to new compensation related claims.
  • Grandparenting all existing arrangements to ensure there is no reduction in entitlements currently being or previously received by veterans. Current payment rates are maintained and indexed normally.
  • A single ongoing Act will provide coverage for all future claims for compensation from a future date, irrespective of when and where the veteran served, or when their injury or illness occurred.
  • A single Act system will provide greater clarity and consistency around entitlements for veterans and their families, simplifying claims.

View accessible version of the diagram: Current and proposed legislation pathway.txt (TXT: 1.5KB)

Date of Claim Approach

Currently, which of the three Acts apply to a claim is primarily determined by the period of service that is related to the claimed injury, disease or death as well as the nature of that service. In some cases multiple Acts can apply.

The Date of Claim Approach proposes that from a future date all future claims will be investigated and determined solely under a single Act, regardless of the service that has caused the injury, disease or death.

Further Improvements to the veteran support system

In addition to the proposal to move to a single Act model, the Government is consulting on a number of further improvements to the veteran support system:

  • providing the capacity to prescribe presumptively accepted conditions;
  • making the existing Veterans’ Review Board the first point of administrative appeal for all claims;
  • merging the existing Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission; and
  • establishing a Ministerial Advisory Council to provide advice directly to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.
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Frequently Asked Questions

To read answers to questions that are arising throughout the consultation visit our Frequently Asked Questions

To help veterans and their families understand the proposed changes we have developed a series of veteran case study examples. To view these visit Case Study Examples

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Are you keen to learn more?

There are a number of ways you can get involved in the Legislative Reform Consultation Pathway process and provide your feedback.

Webinars

These will provide an opportunity to hear more about the reforms, ask questions of experts in the Department and of course provide your individual feedback.

Further details about the webinars and how to register to attend will be published on this page soon.

You can also sign up to receive further advice by emailing: legislation.reform [at] dva.gov.au

Ex-Service Organisations

The Department will be engaging with the ex-service community through the Ex-Service Organisation Round Table and other national and state and territory ex-service organisation forums.

How to provide feedback

We are keen to hear from you about the proposed legislation reform pathway.

Submissions may be made anonymously and will not be published without your permission.

Website

You can submit your feedback via the DVA website during the consultation period.

Submissions close on 12 May 2023.

Email

You can submit your feedback via email to legislation.reform [at] dva.gov.au

Submissions close on 12 May 2023.

Fax

You can submit your feedback via fax: (03) 62216602.

Post

GPO Box 9998
Brisbane QLD 4001

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