The Commonwealth government has unveiled a plan to establish a new network of veteran support facilities across the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a $70 million investment in the development of 14 new Veteran Wellbeing Centres in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, and the ACT.
The centres would be designed to support veterans, defence personnel and their families by serving as a “one-stop-shop”, streamlining access to support services, with a focus on health and wellbeing.
The initiative is expected to foster collaboration between ex-service and community organisations, which could be granted up to $5 million to establish Veteran Wellbeing Centres in the following locations:
- Greater Sydney
- Western Sydney at the Scheyville Veterans Centre in partnership with the Hunter Anzac Memorial
- Mid-north coast region
- Newcastle/Hunter region
- Wagga Wagga region
- Mackay region
- Wide-Bay Burnett region
- Sunshine Coast region
- An additional centre in the south-east Queensland region
- Northern suburbs of Perth
- Greater Melbourne and surrounds
- Geelong/Surf Coast region
- Mornington Peninsula
- Capital region
The $70 million investment will be rolled out over two years, with Holsworthy, Campbell and Gallipoli Barracks to be prioritised.
These new facilities would build on a network of Veteran Wellbeing Centres already established in Townsville, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Wodonga and Nowra.
“We must look after our vets and their families and provide support for the men and women who have served in our Australian Defence Force and put their lives on the line for our nation, our values and our way of life,” Prime Minister Morrison said.
“This new commitment builds on almost $400 million of support provided in the budget for our veterans and their families, in recognition of the service and sacrifice they’ve made to keep our nation safe and secure.”
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton noted the importance of acknowledging the service of the veteran community.
“Just as it is important to provide our ADF with the best equipment and facilities, we also know it is equally important to recognise the unique challenges our veterans can face,” Minister Dutton said.
“Investment in these new centres, and new models of operation, offers an opportunity for local communities to work together and tailor their support services to support veterans, serving ADF members and their families.”