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Thursday, 21 June 2018
Page: 3594

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (13:17): Before I commend the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Veteran-centric Reforms No. 2) Bill 2018 to the house, could I just draw to the attention of the chamber a couple of things that were mentioned by those opposite in making their contributions. Can I put on the record some clarification in relation to a couple of things that were raised.

Firstly, there was a comment made by the shadow minister for veterans' affairs that the unemployment rate for veterans is approximately 30 per cent. It's important that we note in this chamber that the latest research on veterans and unemployment would indicate that, in the first 10 months from defence into civilian life, the unemployment rate is about eight per cent, which is obviously higher than the national average, but it's nowhere near the 30 per cent which has often been quoted. We can do better in partnership with the community, with the business sector and with industry, along with government agencies at all levels, to make sure more veterans make the transition into employment.

Another comment made by the shadow minister for veterans' affairs and, I believe, the member for Bass was about how DVA uses the particular information provided by veterans during the claim process, particularly the online claim process, MyService. I can confirm that the responses to questions about lifestyle and needs assessment are not used by DVA to determine compensation but are instead used to identify forms of support and assistance that the veteran may be entitled to. DVA has now updated the online page on MyService to make it clear that the information is optional and the answers are not used to calculate compensation rates.

Can I also draw to your attention—through you, Mr Acting Deputy President—that Senator Kitching made a comment in her contribution a minute ago that non-liability health care was for just five conditions. If you refer to the 2017-18 budget measures, you'll see that the non-liability health care is for all mental health conditions. With that, can I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.