Government cuts force Veterans’ claims blowout - Thursday 2 November 2006

Media Release
ALAN GRIFFIN MP
Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs


The Howard Government has cut the number of staff and resources for processing veteran’ claims.

In Department of Veterans’ Affairs Estimates it was revealed that these cuts have led to blowouts of up to 400 per cent in the times taken to process claims.

Labor is seeking further information from the Department on the levels of these staff and resources cuts.

The Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs, Alan Griffin, said he was very disturbed at this revelation.

“The Minister often promises he is doing all he can to make claims processing faster but now we hear the truth that he has been cutting staff and resources to these areas,” Mr Griffin said.

“And this at a time when the Department is experiencing large backlogs and dramatic increases in times to process veterans’ claims.”

The Annual Report for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs revealed a dramatic increase in the time it takes to process veterans’ claims, particularly those relating to injury claims.

The time taken to process a primary compensation claim under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act is reported as 106 days while the target is 75 days – 40% increase over target time

The mean time taken to process primary injury claims under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act has ballooned from 122 days in 2004-05 to 181 days in 2005­06 – 48% increase since 2004-05

The mean time taken to process primary injury claims under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act has blown out from 90 days to 146 days – up 62% since 2004-05

The time taken to process new impairment claims under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act has dramatically ballooned from 26 days to 130 days – up 400% since 2004-05

CONTACT:
Rod Hilton
Mobile: 0403 831 179