ADF Transition Management – A Top Priority for Defence - 2 May 2007

The Hon. Bruce Billson, MP

Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Effectively managing the health and wellbeing of all ADF members remains a top priority for Defence’s senior leaders, Minister for Veterans Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Bruce Billson said today.

“There has been a lot of commentary about the challenges faced by ADF personnel when they leave the military for medical reasons,” Mr Billson said.

“Defence has not been standing still and it has been working hard to find better ways to support those who have made valuable contributions in the service of their country.

“There are a range of programs such as the Defence Injury Prevention Program, the ADF Rehabilitation Program and the ADF Mental Health Strategy to help reduce the numbers of ADF personnel injured or harmed at work.

“All of these programs seek to actively manage the return to work of those who are injured or become ill as a result of their military service.

“Discharge from the ADF on medical grounds is always a last option and wherever possible, ADF members who no longer meet medical standards for their trade or profession are now offered the option of retraining to another employment category.

“This retraining option allows members to continue serving in the ADF and is a key feature of Defence’s rehabilitation program.

“Defence well recognises that ADF members discharging on medical grounds must also deal with a number of other Government departments and agencies such the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for compensation and ComSuper for superannuation benefits. Sometimes, the process of transitioning to civilian life and the support offered is at times not as good as it should be.

“Defence is working cooperatively with those agencies to streamline and improve the levels of service provided to embrace a streamlined, integrated and client-centred approach to transition management.

“This approach will ensure that those members who are discharged on medical grounds are treated with care, consideration and compassion, with a focus on making their separation as uncomplicated and stress-free as possible.

“Effective and appropriate advice, rehabilitation support and assistance will also be delivered under the transition management scheme.” Mr Billson said.

Mr Billson said that ADF members are also covered by a single comprehensive rehabilitation and compensation scheme that came into effect in July 2004. The scheme provides a range of treatment, rehabilitation and compensation options should ADF members suffer a physical or mental injury or contract an illness as a result of their military service. It also provides substantial benefits for death as a result of service. Other provisions apply for those who were injured or became ill prior to the new scheme coming into effect.

“Defence is committed to ensuring that the men and women of the ADF, and their families, are provided with an exemplary separation service that will result in a seamless transition from military to civilian life,” Mr Billson said.

“The steps currently being taken to improve transition management for those who are ill or injured will also apply to all ADF members when they leave.”

Cameron Hill
03 9781 2333