No compo for par­ents of dead sol­diers Mil­i­tary re­hab re­view

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

THE par­ents of dead sol­diers should not a u t o m a t i c a l l y g e t com­pas­sion­ate cash pay­ments, a re­view of mil­i­tary com­pen­sa­tion rec­om­mends.

The re­view also says Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice on high r i s k o v e r s e a s m i s s i o n s should not be part of the m i l i t a r y c o m p e n s a t i o n scheme.

Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Min­is­ter War­ren Snow­don said the re­view panel de­ter­mined that the cur­rent re­ha­bilit ation and com­pen­sa­tion scheme for ser­vice per­son­nel and their fam­i­lies was based on sound prin­ci­ples. How- ever, it could be im­proved.

‘‘ This re­view is a sig­nif­i­cant step by the gov­ern­ment to­wards ad­dress­ing con­cerns raised about mil­i­tary re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and com­pen­sa­tion leg­is­la­tion that was in­tro­duced in 2004,’’ he said.

‘‘ The steer­ing com­mit­tee re­ported that there are no fun­da­men­tal flaws in what is a com­plex and rel­a­tively new scheme.’’

The re­view, launched in 2009, stemmed from a La­bor elec­tion prom­ise and fol­lowed com­plaints about com­plex­ity and dis­crep­an­cies in the 2004 Mil­i­tary Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and Com­pen­sa­tion Act. The re­view com­mit­tee made 108 rec­om­men­da­tions with about a third re­quir­ing leg­isla­tive change.

A com­pas­sion­ate pay­ment scheme was re­ferred to the com­mit­tee by for­mer prime min­is­ter Kevin Rudd and def ence per­son­nel min­is­ter War­ren Snow­don with the idea that pay­ments could be ma d e t o n o n - d e p e n d a n t par­ents and other fam­ily mem­bers o f s e r v i c e men killed on duty.

‘‘ Pub­lic emo­tion gen­er­ated by a death of an ADF mem­ber can be ac­com­pa­nied by concern about the ad­e­quacy of the com­pen­sa­tion and sup- port pro­vided to be­reaved fam­ily mem­bers, par­tic­u­larly in cir­cum­stances where the ADF is at fault, or per­ceived to be at fault,’’ the com­mit­tee said.

But it said such a scheme would go fur­ther than any other com­pen­sa­tion scheme and be very dif­fi­cult to ad­min­is­ter fairly.

It con­cluded it could po­ten­tially cause more prob­lems than it solved.

How­ever, De­fence would re­tain the abil­ity to make such pay­ment on a case-by­case ba­sis.

Ex-ser­vice pressed f or or­gan­i­sa­tions stan­dard­ised com­pen­sa­tion for in­juries caused in train­ing or on op­er­a­tional ser­vice.

The com­mit­tee took the view that the unique and risky na­ture of op­er­a­tional ser­vice jus­ti­fied higher com­pen­sa­tion.

It rec­om­mended sim­pli­fy­ing the com­pen­sa­tion pack­age for de­pen­dants in event of the death of a ser­vice mem­ber.

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