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Thursday, 26 June 2008
Page: 3501

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (12:51 PM) —As the shadow minister has indicated, this legislation is non-controversial. The Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (International Agreements and Other Measures) Bill 2008 contains minor amendments that will further align the veterans entitlements means test with the social security means test, provide greater flexibility in arrangements with other countries, correct a number of minor errors in the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act and extend the eligibility period for Commonwealth Police or Australian Federal Police under the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests (Treatment) Act 2006.

There are further technical consequential amendments of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act and military rehabilitation matters. Minor changes to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act will ensure that widowed partners and incapacitated members receive correct compensation payments to which they are entitled under the MRCA and, in particular, the amendment in relation to the incapacity payments will ensure that a person’s compensation is commensurate with his or her loss of earnings during a part week of incapacity. The Labor government was elected with a commitment to provide robust service assistance support to Australia’s ex-service community, and that commitment includes continuing to review the operation of Australia’s repatriation and military compensation rehabilitation schemes. This legislation will strengthen support in a number of areas to ensure that assistance available through the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio is efficient, effective, equitable and fair.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.