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Veterans’ Affairs – Concessions and Support

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Tags: Veterans

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, we're all well aware that the cost of living is rising everywhere across the board, and it's having a particular impact on vulnerable Tasmanians, including veterans with significant health outcomes arising from their service and also war widows and widowers and families of veterans. Tasmania offers a number of concessions and supports, and we provide free bus travel to holders of DVA Gold Cards embossed with 'TPI' or 'EDA', and also for holders of pensioner concession cards. We give them concession travel. Mainland states offer veterans who reside permanently in those states a number of other benefits. They have, for example, white or gold DVA treatment cards with concession travels in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, or free travel in New South Wales and South Australia, and Victoria and Western Australia as well for some veterans. In New South Wales there are other cost-of-living measures like rebates or adjustments for water, sewerage and stormwater charges for veterans who are totally and permanently incapacitated or have extreme disablement. Victoria also gives water, sewerage, storm water rebates for DVA Gold Card holders. There's a water concession for DVA Gold Card vets in Queensland. Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and WA also provide veterans and widowers with rebates for energy and electricity bills.

Will you have a look at what's happening interstate and commit to reviewing the concessions or support for Tasmanian veterans to bring us into line with how other states are helping their veterans?

Mr BARNETT - I appreciate your interest in this important matter and indicate that we have a very substantial list of concessions available for vulnerable Tasmanians, including our veterans. The veterans in Tasmania, through RSL Tasmania and other ex-service organisations, know that this Government supports them and backs them to the hilt. They know that we provide that support. I'm always interested in any further opportunities to provide additional support, so I appreciate your sharing some of those examples from other states, but I'll ask the deputy secretary to provide and add to that answer on the concessions we have in Tasmania.

Ms KENT - The concessions guide outlines a number of concessions and without detailing all that are there, there are at least six pages of concessions that are provided amongst all of those that apply to veterans here. Across all of our jurisdictions we try to work closely to see that there can be better harmonisation of those. As the minister said, we've addressed different ones at different times. We're happy to look further into particular ones and work closely then with the entity that offers them. The concessions are addressed through a range of agencies. There are a large number of concessions that are applied to our veterans, but I am happy to look at the ones where you consider there are still anomalies and work with the agencies. There is a large number and not all jurisdictions have the same. In the intergovernmental work we've done in the past, there's a whole range of different concessions that are not exactly the same in every jurisdiction.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. Minister, I appreciate that, but it seems from the research that we've been able to do that most other states - New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia - provide some form of concession for water, sewerage and electricity. These are key cost-of-living issues for veterans in Tasmania. It is a very important issue. Will you commit to looking at providing those concessions to Tasmanian veterans and families?

Mr BARNETT - Yes, thank you very much for the question and your interest in the matter and let's remind ourselves providing services for veterans is a federal government jurisdiction, but of course states can do what they can do. I'm always interested in whatever else we can do in a positive way to support our veterans. I'll take on board those observations and remarks that you've shared and we will certainly take that on board, so thank you for your feedback.