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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

MEDIA RELEASE

8 October 2018
VA091

Minister Chester in Townsville to discuss veteran issues

DISCUSSING veteran issues and meeting former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) were a key focus of Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester's visit to Townsville today.

Mr Chester attended the Royal Australian Regiment Association Conference as well as the rededication of "Zac's Place" and a Younger Veterans' Roundtable.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Chester said this Government is working hard to put veterans' and their families first and providing mental health support was a key priority for the Government.

"Our Government invests more than $200 million in mental health support each year and has greatly expanded our free mental health treatment program — Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC) — to support early access to treatment," Mr Chester said.

"NLHC is available to any veteran with one day of continuous service in the ADF, and to Reservists with domestic or international disaster relief or border protection service, or who have been involved in a serious service-related training accident.

"So if you are eligible, and you think you may need mental health support for any reason, please reach out to DVA or visit DVA's website and get the help you need."

Mr Chester also attended the rededication of Zac's Place, a house owned by the Vietnam Veterans' Association, Australia (VVAA) which provides emergency accommodation for current and ex-serving members of the ADF.

"Zac's Place is an excellent resource for veterans in need and I am pleased our Government was able to provide more than $14,000 under the Supporting Younger Veterans grants program to help upgrade the facilities," Mr Chester said.

"I congratulate the VVAA on the work they have done to bring the refurbishment to fruition. I also thank them for making these much-needed facilities available to the local veteran community."

As part of his visit, Mr Chester also attended a Younger Veterans' Roundtable where he was able to hear first-hand the concerns of younger veterans.

"Our Government recognises that younger veterans have unique needs and I am committed to ensuring we do all we can to support these young men and women," Mr Chester said.

Ends

Media contacts

Whil Prendergast: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon Darren Chester MP, Canberra

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au