Consultation now open on Veterans' Legislation Reform

The Hon Matt Keogh MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel

The Albanese Government has today released exposure draft legislation which will simplify and harmonise the century old veterans’ entitlements, compensation and rehabilitation system.

The current system is difficult to understand and complex to administer. The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide found the system was “so complicated that it adversely affects the mental health of some veterans and can be a contributing factor to suicidality.”

Following consultation, the draft legislation will simplify the veteran compensation system, with all claims to be considered under a single Act. Under the new system:

  • All new claims for compensation and rehabilitation from the date of commencement would be assessed under a single Act, an improved Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (MRCA)
  • The Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 would be closed to new claims following commencement of the new arrangements
  • All benefits being received under existing schemes will continue unaffected under grand-parenting arrangements. Any new claims after the commencement date (including claims for worsening of pre-existing conditions) will be assessed under the improved MRCA.

There will also be a number of improvements including:

  • introduction of a new Additional Disablement Amount to provide similar benefits as the Extreme Disablement Adjustment for those post retirement age
  • making the higher travel allowance under MRCA available to all veterans and for all kilometres travelled
  • providing a pathway for veterans only covered by DRCA to qualify for Special Rate Disability Pension and a Gold Card under MRCA if they have a new claim accepted or material deterioration of an accepted condition accepted under MRCA post commencement
  • increasing the general funeral allowance to $3,000 with the amount previously set at $2,000.

Today’s release of draft legislation follows the Government’s earlier consultation on a pathway to simplify the veterans’ legislative framework, and provide better support to veterans and their families. Feedback from that consultation has guided the proposed changes announced today.

I welcome feedback and submissions from the veteran community and general public on the draft Veterans’ Entitlements, Treatment and Support (Simplification and Harmonisation) Bill 2024, submissions close on 28 April 2024.

More information on the proposed legislation changes, and opportunities to provide feedback can be found here –

Media contacts

  • Stephanie Mathews (Minister Keogh’s Office): 0407 034 485

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling provides 24/7 free confidential crisis support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046 or the Open Arms website. Safe Zone Support provides anonymous counselling on 1800 142 072. Defence All-Hours Support Line provides support for ADF personnel on 1800 628 036 or the Defence Health Portal. Defence Member and Family Helpline provides support for Defence families on 1800 624 608