Tuesday, 13 Jul 2010

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Mailing List - VA045

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, Alan Griffin, today called for all those involved in F-111 fuel tank maintenance between 1973 and 2000 to come forward to check their eligibility for compensation and health care.

Mr Griffin said as part of the 2010–11 Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced $55 million over four years to ensure more F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers, including pick and patch workers and others, have easier access to compensation and health care for conditions that relate to their service.

“I encourage all those involved in F-111 fuel tank maintenance and associated tasks between 1973 and 2000, and who didn’t receive a letter from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in late May, to visit f111.dva.gov.au or freecall 1800 555 323 to check their eligibility,” Mr Griffin said.

An estimated additional 2,400 workers now have easier access to compensation and health care from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 for medical conditions linked to F-111 fuel tank repair.

“This new package opens up the capacity for all workers who were employed in F-111 fuel tank maintenance, involving fuel tank entry and other associated tasks, to access compensation and health care if they need to,” Mr Griffin said.

To streamline the process, statutory declarations will be used as evidence for claims where official records are incomplete, subject to guidelines. A health care scheme has also been re-opened to support the health care needs of affected personnel while their claims for specific conditions are being determined.

Mr Griffin said the new package was in response to the findings of a parliamentary inquiry into F-111 workers and their families.

“The former F-111 scheme gave ex-gratia payments to people based on where they worked, rather than their actual health needs. This scheme has not been extended or expanded, but surviving partners or estates of those who died before September 2001 and did not receive an ex-gratia payment may now be eligible for one,” Mr Griffin said.

For more information visit http://f111.dva.gov.au or freecall 1800 555 323.

Media inquiries: Cindy Ritchie – 02 6277 7820 or 0414 345 741