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Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Page: 1926


Mr SNOWDON (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and Minister for Indigenous Health) (10:58 AM) —in reply—I am pleased to be able to sum up in this debate on the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Weekly Payments) Bill 2010, and I thank the members for Ryan, Blair and Fadden for their contributions. But I would encourage the member for Ryan to actually read a bit of history and to understand very clearly the absence of any commitment by the former Howard government to address the issue of superannuation entitlements for veterans. In fact, that government had the Podger report provided which they refused to release. It took the Labor government, and me in particular as the then Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, to release that report for public comment.

Whilst I understand that the member for Ryan is a new member in this place, and I understand she has no corporate memory of what has happened in the past, I would encourage her to understand the facts of what has happened in the past and not come in here and blithely just annunciate the lines she has been given by her shadow minister. Clearly, she has got no deep understanding of the veterans’ affairs issues or, indeed, the history of veterans’ affairs policy under the Howard government or what we are doing under the Gillard government and previously under the Rudd government. I might say that those comments apply equally to the member for Fadden.

This bill will implement in the repatriation system an important element of the government’s strategy to address homelessness. The bill will enable the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to introduce the option of weekly payments of pension entitlements for those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless and who would benefit from weekly payments.

This measure is an important component of the government’s strategy to reduce homelessness. Whilst this measure does not affect the total amount of a pension that a person can receive, the availability of weekly payments will assist those vulnerable clients to better manage their money. This action, in conjunction with other elements of the government’s strategy, can contribute to stabilising and improving the circumstances of those who may be facing homelessness. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House without amendment.