STATE Veterans Council chairman Max Ball says State and Federal governments need to communicate more to help veterans.
“We have to identify where the two governments interface, because it’s unclear,” Mr Ball told the Western Suburbs Weekly.
In 2014, the 12-member council was asked by the former state government to investigate getting modern veterans into civilian jobs and to help the homeless who often suffer from mental illness, but the solution is not a Federal Government responsibility.
Mr Ball, a former Army Officer, said the State should not take over Federal Government duties for veterans because Canberra’s role was to always look after those initially in its employment.
“What’s encouraging is that last November all the States’ veterans ministers met with Federal Veterans Minister Dan Tehan, and the Prime Minister launched his veterans employment program,” Mr Ball said.
However, veterans continue to criticise slow compensation claims, homelessness, limited support moving to civilian life and veterans groups left unassisted or being asked for formal data when seeking funds, despite them often being just peer based.
Mr Ball, who will meet new State Veterans Minister and former Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) officer Peter Tinley this week, said while the council was not a veterans’ lobby, the new servicemen’s groups, often from multiple wars and deployments, had to coalesce to deal with Canberra.
He said bureaucracies needed data and facts because they spent public money and the Vietnam Veterans Association was a potential model.
Mr Tinley said he intended to improve the State-Federal government interface by “vigorous participation” in annual veterans ministers’ meetings and he had already telephoned Mr Tehan.
He said WA was “unique” because its SASR and the Navy members may have done up to nine Middle East tours, from which mental health and homeless issues would not be seen for some time.
“Policy responses to this social challenge are not always obvious and we need to be prepared for an across-government approach when it comes to supporting those who have committed themselves in the service of their country,” he said.
As Minister for Housing, Mr Tinley has asked the Housing Authority for information on how to deal with veterans’ homelessness.