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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Saturday, 5 July 2014
VA047

NEW WEBSITE LINKS VETERANS TO SUPPORT WHEN THEY NEED IT

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson has officially launched a new dedicated website for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) at the South Australian RSL Congress in Adelaide today.

VVCS is a free and confidential service that offers eligible veterans counselling, group programs, and after-hours crisis support 24 hours a day.

"Tackling the mental health challenges facing veterans and their families is a key pillar of the Government’s plan for veterans’ affairs. The Government’s priority is to ensure that we have in place the mental health services and supports that are needed for veterans and their families."

"VVCS is at the frontline of mental health and wellbeing support for the Australian veteran and ex-service community. The services provided by VVCS are particularly important as they also support the families, who significantly support veterans."

The launch of a new dedicated website for VVCS builds on the Minister’s recent announcements to improve access to mental health treatment, including access to counselling and support.

From 1 July 2014, former serving members who have border protection service, served in a disaster zone either in Australia or overseas, served as a submariner, were involved in training accidents resulting in serious injury or were medically discharged can access VVCS services.

VVCS services are also available to partners and their dependent children, up to the age of 26, of these newly eligible service men and women.  Along with the partners, dependent children, aged up to 26, and parents of members killed in service-related incidents.

"The Government spends around $166 million a year on meeting the mental health needs of Veterans and their families.  The funding for treatment is demand driven, and it is not capped - if treatment is needed, it is funded."

 "This Government is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past. This means we need to develop a strong understanding of the issues and challenges faced by veteran and defence communities including their families, and to have a robust evidence base to inform efforts to reduce stigma around mental illness and to keep improving our services." Senator Ronaldson said.

A mobile version of the new VVCS website has also been developed  to ensure that veterans and their families can access information and support details when they need to.

The new VVCS dedicated website can be accessed at: www.vvcs.gov.au

Media inquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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