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Veterans and their families have been left in the dark following legislation passed through the lower house, stripping them of their rights to fair appeal and compensation processes.
Slater and Gordon Military Compensation Lawyer Brian Briggs said the legislation had been sneakily slotted into the Budget Savings Omnibus Bill at the eleventh hour.
“This legislation was previously blocked by the Senate in November last year following a number of submissions demonstrating that vulnerable veterans would be significantly worse off,” Mr Briggs said.
“Despite this, it has now reappeared in the Budget Savings Omnibus Bill without any further consultation with the defence community.
“The single appeal path under the Military Rehabilitation & Compensation Act will have a severe impact on our Veterans, stripping them of their rights and allowing timeframes for appeals against Department of Veterans’ Affairs decisions to blow out.
“The miniscule short term savings to the budget is a drop in the ocean in comparison to the cost that it will have on the lives of our Veterans.
“At a time when a Senate enquiry into suicide in the Military and the operation of DVA is presently underway, I cannot fathom why the Government would think it’s appropriate to try to undermine our Veterans by stealth.
“By extinguishing appeal paths, our Veterans will end up being worse off than the Commonwealth Public servants who process and determine their claims.
“This is a slap in the face for the Veteran and defence communities who will be stripped of their rights if this legislation is passed.
“On behalf of Veterans and their families, I call on Senators from all parties to vote with their conscious and protect our most vulnerable service men and women.”