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Tuesday, 28 March 2006
Page: 175

Ms Hall asked the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, in writing, on 13 February 2006:

(1)   Why does the Department of Veterans’ Affairs not provide postage paid envelopes to veterans to use when they submit their pension applications.

(2)   Is he aware of the cost this imposes on veterans, sub-branches and veterans’ welfare organisations.

Mr Billson (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —Tthe answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   The Department provides a postage-paid envelope when writing to a veteran, war widow, spouse, or dependant to request medical or other information related to an application for a pension or other benefit. The Department does not provide postage-paid envelopes to advocates or welfare officers from ex-service organisations (ESOs) who are acting on behalf of a veteran. ESOs seeking assistance for the costs of postage and envelopes for their advocates and welfare officers may apply for a grant under the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) Program. The BEST Program includes funding for running costs and general costs, including stationery and postage, to support ESOs in their advocacy and welfare work with the veteran community.

(2)   The Minister is aware that veterans’ organisations meet the costs of purchasing stationery and postage when submitting veterans’ pension applications, which is consistent with the availability to ESOs of government funding for these items, under the BEST Program.