Veterans’ Legislation Reform

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

A consultation process commenced on 16 February 2023 and closed on 12 May 2023. It built on the Government's previous engagement with the veteran community about simplifying and harmonising veterans' legislation.

The Government will make a final decision on legislation simplification and harmonisation, taking into account feedback received during the consultation process.

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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 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 the consultation process and 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 consulted 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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Are you keen to learn more?

Although the consultation process is now closed, you can still learn about the Legislative Reform Consultation Pathway.

A recording of the Wednesday 26 April 2023 General Session Webinar can be found below.

Video file

 

If you have any other questions in relation to the proposed legislation reform pathway, you can send them to us.

Email

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

Fax

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

Post

You can also write to us at:

GPO Box 9998
Brisbane QLD 4001

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