NEW MINISTER MOVES SWIFTLY ON EX-SERVICE ADVISORY COUNCIL
22 Feb 2008

The Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Alan Griffin, has moved swiftly to implement a key election promise to give veterans a greater voice to Government..

Mr Griffin said the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Ex-Service Matters would provide a forum for the ex-service community to speak directly to the highest levels of government with a unified voice..

"Today I released a discussion paper inviting views on the structure, terms of reference, powers, functions and form of the Advisory Council," Mr Griffin said.

"The ex-service community found it difficult to gain access to the highest levels of the Howard Government. This was a missed opportunity to receive independent advice on veterans' affairs."

Minister Griffin said the discussion paper also proposes a review of consultative mechanisms between the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the ex-service community.

"I am seeking a better understanding on the way consultation is currently conducted between my Department and the ex-service and Defence communities and how that can be improved," Mr Griffin said.

The discussion paper has been distributed to ex-service organisations and is available online at http://minister.dva.gov.au/PMAC/index.htm to allow for community comment. Comment should be received by 28 April 2008.

The Minister said he would consider submissions from all interested parties and talk to veterans and ex-service organisations across the nation to gather their views about consultative mechanisms and the Advisory Council.

"I'm delighted to begin the process to establish this Advisory Council and look forward to the input of ex-service organisations and interested individuals across the nation."

Media inquiries:
Kym Connolly
0420 962 102