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ESO Round Table - summary of meeting 12 May 2015

The Ex-Service Organisation Round Table met for the 30th time on 12 May 2015 to discuss the impacts of the 2015-16 Budget announcement.  Members met in Canberra and via video-conference from state locations.

$12.1 billion has been allocated for Veterans’ Affairs in 2015-16.  This comprises $6.5 billion for income support and compensation, $5.5 billion for health services and $88.7 million for War Graves and Commemorations.

Members were advised that the Government will not proceed with changes to pension indexation announced in the 2014-15 Budget, which will benefit approximately 285,000 DVA clients.

Members noted there will be an increase to the number of case coordinators to provide one on one support to veterans with complex needs.

$900,000 has been provided to align the MRCA appeals process with the VEA process and provide a single appeal pathway.  This will affect claimants who have a primary decision made on or after 1 January 2016.

DVA advised the extension of the In-Home Telehealth trial to 31 December 2016 relates to an extension of the evaluation period and only affects the current participants.

Members noted the extension of the Rehabilitation and Appliances Program (RAP) to include several falls prevention items.

$9.1 million has been provided in 2015-16 to the Anzac Centenary Program, with $35.5 million over the next four years to continue domestic and international commemorative activities.  Members noted that commemorations are a very small portion of the DVA budget.

Members were advised of upcoming changes to the Safety Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA), including the excision of Part XI into a new Act, calculations to the Permanent Impairment (PI) and a measure to allow multiple conditions which arise from a single event to be combined as treated as a single injury to meet the minimum threshold for PI lump sum under the SRCA.

Members were provided with a summary of cross portfolio measures with the Department of Social Services, including the rebalance of the asset test thresholds and taper rate.

Members were also provided with an overview of cross portfolio measures with the Department of Health.

The next full meeting of the ESO Round Table will be 27 August 2015.

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