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Business as usual for Veterans' Review Board



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'pH Media Release I The Hon Bruce Scott MP Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Federal Member for Maranoa

7/98

3 February 1998

BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR VETERANS’ REVIEW BOARD

It will be business as usual for veterans wanting to appeal government decisions now that the Veterans’ Review Board is to be maintained as a separate body distinct from the new consolidated merit review tribunal, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Scott, said today.

The Attorney-General today confirmed that other Commonwealth merit review tribunals and the Administrative Appeal Tribunal will be merged into one body, to be known as the Administrative Review Tribunal.

“The Government has recognised the special nature of appeal rights for veterans. The Veterans’ Review Board is different in many ways to other merit review tribunals, particularly in respect of the unique and specialised skills which some members bring to the Board,” the

Minister said.

“There will therefore be no change to the Veterans’ Review Board as veterans know it today. The role of the Veterans’ Review Board as set out in the Veterans ’ Entitlement Act will remain.

“Of equal importance is the Government’s decision to continue to provide veterans with an unrestricted right to appeal decisions of the Board to the new Administrative Review Tribunal.”

Previously the Administrative Appeals Tribunal dealt with these appeals.

“The Veterans’ Review Board is highly regarded within the veteran community for its long standing record of providing fair decisions which take full account of a range of legal, scientific and medical issues,” the Minister said.

“Given that the Veterans’ Review Board is already a low cost tribunal which does not involve the legal profession or legal procedures, there is clearly no advantage to be gained by absorbing it into the new Administrative Review Tribunal.

“The decision shows that the Government acknowledges the special continuing place that veterans have in Australian society.

“The Coalition promised at the last election that veterans’ entitlements would be maintained, and as many veterans view the Veterans’ Review Board as part of their entitlement package, it was essential it be retained,” the Minister said.

Media contact: Melissa McKerihan Ph. 02 6277 7820 or 0419 607 783