Australia's support system for veterans in need of "fundamental" changes: report

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-05 11:04:30|Editor: Wu Qin
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CANBERRA, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Australia's veterans' affairs system is "archaic" and is in need of "fundamental reform," a report has found.

The 930-page report, tabled in the parliament by the Productivity Commission on Thursday, warned that the 13.2-billion-Australian dollar (9.27 billion U.S. dollars) system is out of date, overly complex and poorly administered.

"It should be redesigned based on the best-practice features of contemporary workers' compensation and social insurance schemes while recognizing the special characteristics of military service," it said.

"This will change the incentives in the system so more attention is paid to the prevention of injury and illness, to rehabilitation and to transition support."

It recommended new governance, funding arrangements, and a single minister who will be responsible for veterans and defence personnel, according to The Australian.

It also called for a new mental health strategy for veterans, saying a focus on suicide prevention was "urgently needed."

"Further research is needed to better understand the mental health impacts of service life on families and how they can be best supported," the report said.

According to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in September 2018, former Australian Defence Force (ADF) servicemen under the age of 30 had a suicide rate 2.2 times higher than that of all men of the same age.

Responding to the report, Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester told News Corp Australia that it would "require careful consideration by the government as well as the veterans community and other stakeholders."