Skip to navigation

Media releases & speeches

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

Minister for Defence Materiel

Senator The Hon Marise Payne
Minister for Defence

Friday, 18 March 2016

Release of Senate References Committee Report into the Mental Health of Australian Defence Force Members and Veterans

The Government welcomes the contribution of the Senate Reference Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s report into the mental health of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and veterans and will carefully consider the Inquiry report and its recommendations.

The Government takes the wellbeing of current and former ADF members very seriously and funding for mental health treatment services is demand driven, it is not capped.  The Government is focussed on early intervention strategies to treat mental illness early.

This Government has invested in expansion of non-liability health care provisions to treat mental health conditions, improved the time taken to process compensation claims and, in the 2015-16 Budget, funded additional case coordinators to support clients with complex needs, including those with mental health conditions.

The Opposition’s call for the Minister for Defence to demand that the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force release a report into the use of anti-malarial drug mefloquine are misguided on a number of fronts.

Firstly, the IGADF’s investigation on this matter is ongoing, so any request to release the report is premature – there is no final report at this point in time.

Secondly, the IGADF is a statutory appointment and the Minister for Defence does not have the discretion to release its reports. The release of IGADF investigations is determined by the IGADF on a case by case basis, and with due consideration of privacy and legal issues.

Current and former ADF personnel who have concerns relating to the ADF use of anti-malarial medication are encouraged to visit the "Malaria, mefloquine and the ADF" website through the ADF Health & Wellbeing Portal on the Department of Defence website.

Anyone who believes their health has been affected by their use of mefloquine or tafenoquine during their ADF service is encouraged to lodge a claim with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Media enquiries:

  • Minister Payne's Office: 0429 531 143
  • Minister Tehan’s Office: 0477 395 356

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.