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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Page: 5709

Vietnam Veterans' Family Study

(Question No. 1940)

Senator Ronaldson asked the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs upon notice on 27 June 2012.

With reference to the letter dated 8 June 2012 from the Repatriation Commission to the Vietnam veterans who participated in the Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study:

(1) How much will the study cost to complete.

(2) How much has been spent on the study to date.

(3) Prior to 30 June 2012, how many departmental staff have been involved in preparing the study’s findings.

(4) How many staff will be working in this area after 1 July 2012.

(5) What ‘resource constraints’ are in place to prevent the completion of the study by the end of 2012, as promised in December 2011.

Senator Bob Carr: The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs has provided the following answers to the honourable Senator’s question:

Suggested Response:

(1) The study is expected to cost approximately $7,608,636 to complete.

(2) To date, approximately $5,720,356 has been spent on the study.

(3) Prior to 30 June 2012, the number of departmental staff varied in line with the different phases of the study:

Set up and establishment - approximately six staff;

Main registration of study participants and contracting of commissioned research components - approximately eight staff; and

Contract management of the commissioned research - three staff.

(4) After 1 July 2012, one departmental staff member will be coordinating the research for the Family Study Program.

(5) The suite of final reports of the Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study was planned to be delivered to Government in the second half of 2012, three years ahead of the originally scheduled release of 2015-16. Due to the implementation of a ‘whole of government’ efficiency dividend strategy in the financial year 2012-13, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been asked to reduce its total operating budget by approximately $12 million.

In a measure to realise the efficiency dividend request, the official publication of the suite of Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study reports has been re-phased for release in the 2013-14 financial year. Despite this delay, the study is still on track to be delivered two years ahead of its original schedule.

The decision to re-phase the study will not affect the research outcomes in anyway. The full suite of Vietnam Veterans’ Family Study reports will still be delivered; only the timeframe for publication has changed.