Labor’s Member for Macarthur, Dr Mike Freelander MP, has met with a number of veterans in the local Macarthur community to discuss their concerns of the dismantling the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).

The Productivity Commission’s interim report on Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans was released at the end of last year and unleashed a number of recommendations, including one which has rightly worried veterans in the Macarthur community.

This recommendation is to dismantle the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  

At a local meeting, hosted by Labor’s Dr Mike Freelander MP, veterans expressed their concern over DVA being dismantled as a standalone department.

Veterans have been left in the dark, with the Prime Minister refusing to rule out his Government accepting this recommendation of the Productivity Commission. Without this guarantee how can veterans be certain that DVA will continue under a Liberal Government?

In the Macarthur electorate alone, there are 1, 442 veterans and clients of DVA who seek support and assistance through their services.

DVA exists, in part, as an acknowledgement of the sacrifice current and former serving ADF personnel have made. To dismantle a standalone DVA would be nothing short of an insult to the men, women and their families who have sacrificed so much to serve our country.

Labor has been clear from the start; our veterans deserve their own support, service and department to acknowledge their commitment to, and the sacrifice made for our country.

There is no doubt that DVA can significantly improve their service to veterans, however, the focus should be on reform and improved service delivery for our veterans, not the abolition of DVA.

DVA plays a vital role in recognising our obligation to those who have served our country. Labor has made it clear that it does not support abolishing the department as a stand-alone entity.

Veterans in the Macarthur community have called on Scott Morrison to do the same.