Local veterans are amongst the first confirmed victims of next month’s budget due to the Abbott Government’s decision to close Ballarat’s Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) office and transfer local services to the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King said the loss of local specialised staff that know and understand our local veterans’ needs was a huge blow.
“Ballarat’s Veterans’ Access Network Office provides important services for veterans and their families such as: counselling, rehabilitation, housing assistance, home care and pensions,” Ms King said.
“These specialised services are important to veterans, playing a vital role assisting our ex-servicemen and women to return to civilian life.
“Local DVA officers know our veterans firsthand and have established strong relationships that enable them to identify personal issues as they arise to provide the support they need.
“Veterans who have all served our country with honour and distinction deserve to have personalised and dedicated local facilities and services.
“Since the government announced its ‘consultation’ over the future of veterans’ offices, over 60 members of our community, including local veterans have signed a petition in my office calling on the local DVA office to be maintained.
“This decision demonstrates once again that the Abbott Government’s twisted budget priorities are out of step with the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.”