Welfare Report

Helping Hand

WELFARE WAFFLES

I am walking a fine line trying to maintain your Association’s objective regarding being a political. In the last issue of Contact I discussed the Federal Budget, especially in relation to DFRB/DFRDB recipients. I continue the Budget theme.

Relating to pensions and superannuation, the Budget wound back the method of indexing theses schemes, Disability Pensions will be indexed using CPI instead of the greater of MTAWE or PBLCI. The Parliament acknowledged that CPI is not a true indication of living costs and voted to change the DFRB/DFRDB schemes to reflect the higher of the various formula by passing the Defence Force Retirement Benefits Legislation Amendment Fair Indexation Bill 2014, the current Government has done a back flip on its pre election promise.

Veterans’ on Special Rate or TPI Pensions, War widows and those on Income Support Supplements are equally effected by the endeavours of the Government to bring the Budget back into surplus. This is a measure too far for those who have endured more than any other in the Australian Community, war widows and those in uniform who were put in harms way with the very real prospect of paying the ultimate sacrifice.

For current serving members and those who are enlisting the Government is closing the MSBS to new members and they will be subject to a new accumulation superannuation scheme (is this DFRB/DFRDB revisited to the disadvantage of those currently in uniform? ) who can tell.

One bright area and to his credit, The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs reinstated one million dollars into the BEST Grant Scheme which the previous Minister removed. This is an acknowledgement by the current Government that welfare services for serving and ex-serving personnel must remain paramount. Your Association and its partners in LAVAS obtained almost all of which we requested to ensure welfare services can continue.

I almost always finish Welfare Waffles with a plea for members to consider undertaking TIP training as either Welfare or Pension Officers. It does not matter whether you are in close proximity to your Association HQ or in the Regions Australia wide it is important that trained (by that I mean current) TIP volunteers are available to our members, the Defence Community generally and importantly veterans of more recent deployments. If you are a member of BMVVAF, VVAA RSL or any other ESO become an “active member” and volunteer.

John Fenton JP

For: Ray Westwell JP Welfare Co-ordinator