Page 925 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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veterans per capita than other state capitals that have veterans’ wellbeing centres. That is why we have been advocating strongly for a veterans’ wellbeing centre for Canberra to provide social connection and a place where people can go to seek advice about everything from their children’s school and where they can volunteer, to where they can get support with DVA and medical paperwork, employment and training, sporting groups and all of those things that make life an enjoyable thing when you are living in Canberra, as we all wish to enjoy.

We have done quite a bit of work to try and make the case to the federal government that we should have a commonwealth funded veterans’ wellbeing centre here. Back on 17 November I had a meeting with the federal minister Andrew Gee to discuss some of these issues. On 7 December the ACT government engaged with veterans and mainstream services in the ACT to better understand their needs and where the gaps in support are. We will continue to engage with them to better understand those things. In February we wrote to Minister Gee advocating for a veterans’ wellbeing centre, and I am very hopeful that there is still time and that we may still be able to see commonwealth support for a veterans’ wellbeing centre in the ACT.

MR BRADDOCK: What services are available for veterans currently within the ACT?

MS DAVIDSON: We have a really diverse of range of ex-service organisations in the ACT to provide a wide range of supports. There is a veterans’ support centre that has been funded by the ACT government. That funding was provided for a three-year period. One of the things that they spend a lot of their time doing there is providing support to veterans in going through difficult DVA processes and providing support for their welfare advocate. It is quite time consuming to go through a lot of that DVA bureaucracy. If processes could be improved federally that would reduce the need for that.

Our ex-service organisations provide a wide range of other services, including connecting people to employment and just sitting and having a coffee with people and understanding their experiences. They provide social connections and connections with sporting groups—both within the broader community and specifically for veterans—and with arts and culture groups. We would really like to see a physical space where those groups can come together, collaborate with each other and better support our diverse range of veterans and their families in the ACT.

MR HANSON: I have a supplementary question. Minister, what impact would cutting $300 billion from the ADF have on our veteran community?

Mr Braddock: Point of order on relevance. How is that relevant to a veterans’ wellbeing centre?

Mr Rattenbury: On the point of order, Mr Hanson well knows that Minister Davidson is not the minister responsible for that policy. Therefore it is out of order.

MR ACTING SPEAKER: I agree that the question is out of order, Mr Hanson.

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