Australian Government, 2011‑12 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Veterans' Affairs

Australian War Memorial — additional resourcing

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Australian War Memorial 8.4 8.5 8.5 8.6

The Government will provide $33.9 million over four years in additional resourcing to the Australian War Memorial. This will allow the Australian War Memorial to maintain its current level of activities. Additionally, this funding will provide supplementation for the anticipated increase in demand for research services, education programs and historical professional advice in the lead up to, and beyond, the Centenary of Anzac.

Further information can be found in the press release of 3 March 2011 issued by the Prime Minister.

Compensation offsetting under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs
Related capital ($m)
Department of Veterans' Affairs

The Government will clarify offsetting rules for veteran compensation under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), at a cost of $2.7 million over four years. Compensation offsetting under the VEA involves a reduction in the level of a disability pension where another compensation payment has been made for the same incapacity. This clarification will ensure that offsetting continues to be applied on the basis of a person's level of incapacity.

The Department of Veterans' Affairs will also improve the administration of offsetting cases through case manager training and enhanced systems support.

The cost of this proposal will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Department of Veterans' Affairs Grants programs — savings

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs ‑2.0 ‑2.0 ‑2.0 ‑2.0

The Government will reduce funding for the Veteran Community Grants program and the Building Excellence in Support and Training program.

The funding reduction aligns with the decline in the veteran client population and number of grant applications. This measure will provide savings of $8.0 million over four years.

Funding of $4.4 million per year will continue to be made available through these programs.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

Fraud prevention and compliance — electronic data exchange with financial institutions to improve debt recovery

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs ‑0.7 ‑2.1 ‑2.0 ‑1.8
Related capital ($m)
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.6

The Government will provide $1.7 million over four years to enable the electronic exchange of information between the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) and financial institutions. DVA will be able to request and receive customer information electronically, bringing its practices into line with those already in place in Centrelink.

The changes will ensure a faster and more accurate assessment of overpayments, leading to a higher rate of identification and recovery of debts. Debts will be reduced by an estimated $7.7 million over four years, resulting in net savings to the Government of $6.0 million over four years.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

Fraud prevention and compliance — improving compliance for compensation recipients

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.9 ‑0.5 ‑0.6 ‑0.6
Related capital ($m)
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.6

The Government will provide $4.2 million over four years to prevent overpayments to Department of Veterans' Affairs' (DVA) clients who receive compensation payments from insurance companies and statutory authorities.

The measure will allow DVA client data to be matched with Centrelink data to prevent or recover any duplication of payments made by insurance companies and statutory authorities, to minimise overpayments and client debt. The measure is estimated to provide net savings of $0.2 million over four years.

Savings from this measure will be redirected to support other Government priorities.

Prisoner of War Recognition Supplement — establishment

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.1 8.4 8.1 6.1 4.5
Department of Human Services 0.1 .. .. ..
Total 0.1 8.5 8.1 6.1 4.5
Related capital ($m)
Department of Veterans' Affairs

The Government will provide $27.8 million over five years to further recognise the severe hardship and suffering experienced by former prisoners of war (POWs) of Japan and Europe from the Second World War, and former POWs from the Korean War.

Commencing on 20 September 2011, this measure will introduce a Prisoner of War Recognition Supplement of $500 per fortnight for eligible former POWs. This new, non‑taxable payment will complement an existing range of special benefits available to former POWs, and will not be included as assessable income for the purposes of means testing of other government payments administered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs and Centrelink.

The capital cost of $0.5 million for this measure will be met from within the existing resources of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Rationalisation of Temporary Incapacity Allowance and Loss of Earnings Allowance

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.2 ‑0.1 ‑0.1 ‑0.1
Related capital ($m)
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.2

The Government will rationalise the Temporary Incapacity (TI) Allowance and Loss of Earnings (LOE) Allowance. Both allowances are paid under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 for a temporary inability to work due to a war or defence caused condition.

The TI Allowance is payable to an eligible veteran who has undergone hospital or other institutional treatment and has been off work for more than 28 days. The LOE Allowance compensates an eligible veteran for salary, wages or earnings lost due to absence from work for medical treatment, including hospitalisation. The maximum amount of compensation that an eligible veteran can receive under either one or both of these allowances is equivalent to the Special Rate of the Disability Pension.

From 20 September 2011 eligible veterans will have access to the LOE Allowance only. This will simplify the assessment of eligibility for payments and better target compensation expenditure. This provides greater simplicity for clients in understanding their entitlements.

Rehabilitation and compensation programs — seed funding for information communication technology redesign

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs 3.4

The Government will provide $3.4 million in 2011‑12 for a pilot program to investigate options for redesigning information communication technology (ICT) for veteran rehabilitation and compensation programs.

Current ICT arrangements for managing veteran rehabilitation and compensation programs are different for each of the three compensation Acts administered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs. More modern and sustainable ICT systems are required to effectively and efficiently meet client needs and assist with early intervention and rehabilitation.

This funding will support the preparation of a Second Pass Business Case, which will provide further project assurance on the feasibility, costs and risks associated with an ICT project of this nature, for consideration in the 2012‑13 Budget.

Veterans' Ambulance Travel Funding — changed fee arrangements — termination of measure

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs 32.6 41.1 48.3 48.3 48.3

The Government will no longer proceed with the measure Veterans' Ambulance Travel Funding — changed fee arrangements that was announced in the 2010‑11 Budget. Instead the Government will negotiate individually with each State and Territory to enhance existing arrangements for veterans' ambulance travel funding by improving data availability and transparency in pricing.

Provisions for savings from this measure were included in the forward estimates and the Contingency Reserve.

Veterans' Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Scheme — establishment

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs 5.1 8.6 8.3 8.1

The Government will provide $30.1 million over four years to reimburse eligible veterans' out‑of‑pocket expenses relating to pharmaceutical prescriptions. An annual, tax‑exempt payment will be provided to those veterans with qualifying service or warlike service who are in receipt of a disability compensation payment from the Department of Veterans' Affairs. The value of each individual's payment will be determined by their annual pharmaceutical usage.

This measure will address the out‑of‑pocket costs experienced by some veterans when their annual concessional patient pharmaceutical co‑payment costs exceed the value of existing pharmaceutical assistance provided through the Pension or Veterans Supplements.

From 1 January 2012, approximately 70 000 veterans will be eligible to receive an annual and automatic reimbursement for out‑of‑pocket pharmaceutical costs.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Vietnam Veterans' Education Centre, Washington — contribution

Expense ($m)
2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014‑15
Department of Veterans' Affairs 1.6 0.1 1.6

The Government will provide $3.3 million over three years to the Vietnam Veterans' Education Centre (the Centre) in Washington DC to commemorate Australia's contribution to the Vietnam War.

Along with preserving the memory of the Australians who served in Vietnam, the Centre will provide information regarding Australia's involvement during the conflict through the use of interpretive displays using digital technology.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Further information can be found in the press release of 7 March 2011 issued by the Prime Minister.

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