WA Minister for Veterans’ Issues Peter Tinley will ask how veterans’ assistance can be integrated when he meets with Federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan next month.
As reported in the Western Suburbs Weekly last week, the Federal Budget was cautiously welcomed by veterans’ groups when Canberra said $350 million would fight mental health issues created by often multiple deployments to conflicts in the past three decades.
Mr Tinley, a former Swanbourne-based SAS Regiment officer, said any increase in funding was welcome, but the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs had the “clear” responsibility to help.
“Funding is just the start of the conversation, and what is important is where and how the funding is used,” he said.
Some veterans have asked if they can use Canberra’s new Younger Veterans Grants, allocated $4 million in the Budget, to fund operations such as actually find veterans on the street, care for those lost to alcohol or drugs, or family break down.
Asked if the State Government could fill any funding gaps in these areas, Mr Tinley said the average age of veterans is getting lower, they were doing more operational tours, and their mental health issues would peak in the future.
“We are as a nation going to need to be ahead of the game on this issue,” Mr Tinley said.