The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Darren Chester MP, introduced yesterday the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-centric Reforms No. 2) Bill 2018 into the House of Representatives.
If you would like to access the Bill and Explanatory Memorandum, they can be found on the Parliament House website at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6117
In addition, DVA’s legislation web page contains explanations of each of the measures in the Bill: https://www.dva.gov.au/about-dva/legislation/veterans-affairs-legislation-amendment-veteran-centric-reforms-no2-2018-bill
Briefly, the Bill contains six measures:
- Incapacity stepdown: pay former Australian Defence Force members’ incapacity payments at 100 per cent of their Normal Weekly Earnings while they are undertaking full time study as part of an approved rehabilitation program.
- Suicide Prevention Pilot: provide intensive support to those who have attempted suicide, are experiencing a suicidal crisis or are at risk of suicide following their discharge from hospital.
- MRCA wholly dependent partners: give wholly dependent partners under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) 2 years instead of 6 months to decide how they would like to take their compensation.
- Long Tan Bursary: amend the Long Tan Bursary Scheme to provide financial support for the education of the grandchildren of a Vietnam veteran who has operational service in Vietnam.
- Submarine Special Operations: deem a submariner who has served on a Submarine Special Operation between 1 January 1978 and 31 December 1992 to have rendered operational service for any time they were on a submarine between these periods.
- MRCA compensation claim: remove the requirement for a claim for compensation under the MRCA to be made in writing (it will be able to be made orally.