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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5040 ..

a significant sacrifice that they make but one that I think Australia should be very grateful for in terms of their ongoing commitment to our community.

There are also tangible things that the ACT can do to support veterans. In addition to making sure that we accurately record and teach the history of our conflicts and our times of peace, we also need to make sure that we are supporting our veterans on a lot of tangible things such as health care, access to transport, housing support, counselling services—whatever it may be.

Australia does have a fantastic repatriation system. That does not mean that there is not still work to be done and it does not mean that we can relax. As I said at the beginning of my speech, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We in the ACT must remain vigilant to ensure that the needs of veterans are ably met by all government agencies and also by the broader community as well. We need to make sure that the ACT community does foster a culture whereby we are truly grateful to those that have served our country through the armed services and through supporting men and women in the armed forces, especially the families.

I do very much believe that Defence Force veterans play a very important role in the ACT community and I am very pleased to be able to acknowledge that fact here today.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (3.24): I would like to thank Mr Coe for raising this matter of public importance and also acknowledge his success in getting the matter of public importance today—an usual victory for you, Mr Coe.

This government recognises the contribution made by our veterans. They and their families have placed the wellbeing of this nation ahead of their own, and for this we, as a nation and as a community, express our gratitude.

While the ACT has some very important initiatives in place for veterans, it is important to keep in mind that the responsibility for veterans matters rests with the commonwealth. Many of our veterans are in need of, and are entitled to, support; and the commonwealth is able to offer coordinated support for veterans and their dependants. The mission of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is to support those who serve or have served in defence of our nation and commemorate their service and sacrifice.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs administers nearly half a billion dollars worth of payments every year for Australian veterans and has a departmental staffing of over 2,000 staff located across Australia. They take a holistic approach to the care of veterans and their families. This involves not only medical care and pensions but also education, compensation, mental health services, support services and memorials and commemorations.

Their clients include veterans, war widows and widowers, serving members and former Defence Force members and their families and eligible members of the Australian Federal Police who have served overseas. DVA will continue to deliver services to the ex-service community while implementing the government’s commitments and initiatives.

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