THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
14 February 2011
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today welcomed the release of the Review of Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)–Funded Ex-Service Organisation (ESO) Advocacy and Welfare Services Report.
Minister Snowdon said the Government would implement all 45 recommendations from the Review which offered many positives outcomes for Australia’s ex-service community and prescribed a framework to ensure veterans, war widow/ers and their families have access to quality advocacy, welfare and support services.
“The Review recommended important changes to help standardise ESO advocacy and welfare services and improve transparency and accountability in the way funds are distributed to the ex-service organisations that support Australia’s veteran and defence communities,” he said.
The Review covered the Building Excellence in Support and Training Program (BEST), Training Information Program (TIP), and the Veteran and Community Grants (V&C) program.
“As the needs of the veteran and defence communities change, so must these support programs. The Review delivers on the Government’s commitment to move to a more evidence-based decision-making process and an equitable distribution of funds.
“The Review has also taken into account the valuable contribution of the volunteer workforce which always has the welfare and interests of the veteran community as its priority,” Mr Snowdon said.
ESOs will be encouraged to work closely together to ensure that appropriate advice and support is provided to veterans and defence members. Support for the Training Information Program will be strengthened by ensuring that advocates, and pension and welfare officers are provided with the standard of training and support they require to undertake their important role.
“The ongoing involvement of the ESO community throughout the consultation process has been the key to the success of the Review and I am confident that the recommendations will receive broad support,” Mr Snowdon said.
BEST Round 13 applications open today and close on 11 March 2011. Applicants should familiarise themselves with the new guidelines before submitting an application.
The full Review report, including all the recommendations and more information on BEST grants can be accessed at www.dva.gov.au/grants.
Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Dept of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203