07 February 2024
PACFA is pleased to support the Returned Services League (RSL) pre-budget submission for increased funding for mental health, and greater access to counsellors and other mental health practitioners through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA).
In January 2024, PACFA CEO Johanna de Wever and Head of Practice Sophie Keramidopoulos met with RSL NSW’s Isaac Ohlin, Head of Veterans Policy & Program Delivery, and Policy Officer Ethaniel Thompson, to discuss advocacy and the inclusion of counsellors in the DVA price schedule.
RSL Australia’s pre-budget submission covers a variety of important areas regarding mental health service accessibility, including:
- Prompt implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, including funding for the establishment of an independent body to oversee this, led by a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Wellbeing.
- The Government to simplify and bring together the three current legislative Acts for a cohesive approach to veterans’ entitlements – with the end goal being a reduction in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) claims backlog to ensure veterans and their families are not left waiting for entitlements designed to support their health and wellbeing.
- The immediate extension of non-liability healthcare for mental health treatment to ADF reservists on completion of the enlistment process.
- Veterans to have the support of trained advocates to help them navigate the DVA claims process through the provision of funding to enable DVA to enhance its Advocacy Training and Development Program for volunteer and paid advocates.
- The removal of significant barriers currently faced by veterans when accessing timely and appropriate healthcare, particularly by reviewing and increasing the DVA fee schedule to better align it to the actual cost of healthcare.
- A tangible reduction in the administrative burden placed on healthcare providers in accessing DVA remuneration.
For more information on this, please view the relevant RSL NSW article here, or follow this link to RSL Australia's Pre-Budget Submission.
PACFA looks forward to continuing to work with RSL NSW in this space.