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$5235 to help local veterans.

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David Hawker MP Federal Member for Wannon Electorate Office: 190 Gray Street, Hamilton, Vic., 3300 Ph: (03) 5572 1100 or Local Call 1300 131 692 Fax: (03) 55 72 1141 Email: Web:

Media Release The Hon David Hawker MP Speaker of the House of Representatives Federal Member for Wannon

16 June 2006


South west Victoria’s veteran community will have greater access to the help they need when making claims for pensions and other benefits following a grant to the region’s veterans centre, announced today by the Federal Member for Wannon, the Hon David Hawker.

Mr Hawker announced a $5235 grant under the Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) program, to support the work of the South West Veterans' Centre and its pension and welfare officers.

“This grant will go towards a new computer, printer and internet access,” Mr Hawker said.

“Through BEST, ex-service organisations such as the South West Veterans' Centre are able to obtain financial help to fund staff, computer equipment, and other resources they need to provide a quality service to the veteran community,” he said.

“Pension and welfare officers provide much needed help to veterans, war widows and widowers, current and former Defence members and their dependants when lodging claims with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or pursuing an appeal.

“The Australian Government values the assistance they offer the veteran community, and is committed to providing them with the necessary support.”

Mr Hawker said the funding was an essential complement to the training pension and welfare officers received through the Training Information Program (TIP).

“The Australian Government recognises the need to improve the services and facilities available to the veteran community. In 2004 the Government committed an additional $9.2 million over four years to the BEST and TIP programs.

“This additional funding has more than doubled the BEST grants funding for 2006-07 to $3.5 million,” Mr Hawker said.

The Federal Government has provided ongoing funding for the South West Veterans Centre since 1999: in total almost $16,000 has been provided to cover expenses such as internet access, travel and office needs.

Media Contact: Maree Lane or Karen Moore, ph: 03 5572 1100