ADF should have more responsibility in transition services
INJURY prevention programs being trialled at Lavarack Barracks should be rolled out nationally to test the effectiveness in helping transitioning defence force personnel, according to a report.
The Productivity Commission's Inquiry Report, A Better Way To Support Veterans, was released this month and published a series of recommendations to help improve veteran welfare.
A suite of changes were recommended for both departments of Defence and Veterans' Affairs. One finding for Defence was supporting a new approach to injury prevention, including programs being implemented at Lavarack.
"Defence should adequately fund and support these programs, and ensure there is a comprehensive and robust cost-benefit assessment of their outcomes," the report reads.
The report also states the Australian Defence Force Joint Health Command should be publishing outcomes from the ADF rehabilitation programs, as well as engaging more with rehabilitation providers.
Another point includes formalising Defence's responsibility to ADF members and explicitly adding it in the department's outcomes.
"Due to the unique nature of military service, Defence has a responsibility to respect and support members of the ADF having regard to their lifetime wellbeing," the report reads.
"The Australian Government should recognise that Defence has primary responsibility for the wellbeing of discharging Australian Defence Force members, and that this responsibility may extend beyond the date of discharge."
This Joint Transition Authority within Defence would ensure personnel had a career plan covering their service and post-service, that would be updated every two years.
Australian Warfighters Coffee owner and veteran Stewart Locke believes there needs to be more interaction with discharging personnel from Defence to help reduce isolation.
Mr Locke said the Department of Veterans' Affairs needed to be more consistent with its compensation outcomes for ex-servicemen and women.
A key issue identified within DVA was the processing and administering of claims.
The report recommends simplifying the process for veterans and their families and adequately training staff.
"DVA should ensure that all claims advocates who act on behalf of a claimant in primary claims or appeals are accredited under the Advocacy Training and Development Program," it said.
It also urged removing the permanent impairment lump-sum payments made to younger veterans for dependent children and other young people.